Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We begin this week where we left off last week: in the elimination room. Jesse and Aaron have obviously just left and there is silence in the room except for the quiet sobbing of Jessica. We are reminded about how Patrick betrayed his friendship for Jesse by voting for him. Patrick interviews that this was the hardest vote yet, but he had to vote for Jesse because he was partnered with Aaron, whom Patrick considered to be his biggest threat.

Ali points out that we are down to eight people from 21 original contestants. The next Biggest Loser is somewhere in this room. And we're now going to singles. Yes, it's time for everyone to stand on their own two feet. Speaking of which, Elizabeth is mad because Bob and Jillian both went off on a tirade last week during the weigh-in that she was still not standing on her own two feet. So she's excited, and determined to prove them wrong.

In the gym, Jessica reflects on how far she's come - the first challenge was a mile, and she found it extremely hard. But now, it's her warm-up. As they're all warming up. Bob and Jillian show up and notice that Aaron and Jesse are gone. Bob gets a little pissy about this because he was under the impression that Brendan wasn't going to gameplay anymore. (Say what, now? What naive fantasy land are you living in, Bob?) Brendan explains his choice by declaring that he wasn't willing to send Elizabeth home as the alternative. Bob goes off to have a sulk and interview about how gameplay sucks. He gets a bit of it out his system by torturing Brendan one-on-one for a while.

Jessica is struggling because apparently she was very attached to Jesse. She realises that she really needs to learn how to do this sort of thing on her own. Mark reflects that people are really starting to realise that there's no safety net now. Patrick vows to take full advantage of this opportunity. He's been unemployed for months and has had to borrow money from his parents and his wife's parents to get by. Translation: I will do whatever it takes to win this show. He and Bob talk about the elimination and he explains that he had to weigh his family's needs (money) against his friendship with Jesse. Bob is just angry about the situation. He wants good competitors like Patrick to keep other good competitors around him to make winning more meaningful. Y'know, I like Bob a lot, but he can be ridiculously unrealistic about human psychology. NO ONE who is genuinely serious about winning a reality show grand prize is going to keep their biggest competitors around them for honour's sake. Bob needs to stop taking eliminations personally. In fact, he's actually done the opposite of what he wanted: his conversation with Patrick only strengthen's that boy's resolve to "put himself in the best situation" to win the show.

Bob and Jillian then try to get the contestants to destress by watching videos from home. Everyone's really excited, but Bob takes Ada aside to warn her that she doesn't have a video. The show called her family several times and never got a response. Ada is clearly sad about this but tries really hard to put a brave face on it. Sadly, she is also clearly unsurprised, classifying her family's "support" not as loving so much as "you'd better have lost a hundred pounds or don't come back". (Aaaand my burning hatred for her parents ramps up a few MORE notches.)

Awkward silence.

Bob attempts to get Ada to talk about how hurt she's feeling, but she doesn't want to acknowledge that she's sad about it. (God forbid we should display weakness, after all.) Bob then proceeds to demonstrate that he was the last person who should have been having this conversation with Ada, since at NO TIME does he take the opportunity to a) tie in her feelings of inadequacy with her family's unacceptable behaviour and b) tell her that showing sadness does not equal being weak. Jillian, on the other hand, would have been all over both of those points. Mostly, his focus is simply on "overcoming this". Sigh.

Ada tries to pass off her family's disinterest in her as "cultural", which I think is bullshit. I mean, yes, when I was growing up I watched some (not all!) of my Chinese/other Asian friends get ENORMOUS pressure to succeed "or else", but I don't believe for a second that they all experienced the kind of verbal abuse and lack of emotional support that Ada got dumped with. I don't buy that that kind of behaviour is "cultural". (And frankly, to say that it is doesn't reflect very well on Chinese people in general. I imagine that there are now a bunch of white people all over America - those who don't have enough contact with Asian communities to know better - who now think the home dynamic of all Chinese families is abusive and unsupportive. Yeah, that's going to do wonders for racism in that country.)

So everyone minus Ada gathers in the TV room to watch their videos, and there are some mutterings about where Ada has gone. Lisa declares that she's sure Ada didn't actually get a video, and Elizabeth figures she hasn't come downstairs to watch with them because of that. This bums people out, but they have to turn the TV on anyway. Patrick is first, and there are many squeals and aws as we see his super-cute sons. (Who look exactly like him, so sweet.) His wife (who for some bizarre reason is named Bradley) comes on and tells him that she's lost a whopping 40lbs! Patrick is super-proud.

Frado's (young-looking and hot) wife tells him how proud she is of him. His daughter Danielle offers to run the last 10 miles of the marathon together if he makes the Final Four. He would love that.

Lisa has a huge crowd of people on a single couch cheering for her. Her kids tell her they love her and they're proud of her. Lisa starts really feeling like she wants to stay on the ranch. (At last!)

Brendan's mom is as New England as they come. :) She tells him he's great. He interviews that over the past few years, he really hasn't been a good son or uncle or friend, but he has people who love him unconditionally anyway, and that's very special. He needs to stop making excuses and be more thoughtful in the future.

Incidentally, one of the Biggest Loser bonus videos from a week or two back offered an interesting explanation for Brendan's general jerkiness and how he could have become so depressed that he kicked his fiancee out of his life. He apparently has some kind of genetic condition that screws with his hip, causing him a lot of pain. (The added weight obviously doesn't help with this.) As a result, he's been on narcotic painkillers for a number of years, which do help with his pain, but which also contribute to depression. He's now addicted to the painkillers, and freely admits it, but wants to lose enough weight first so that his pain is more manageable when he starts going off the narcotics. However, in the video, we see that his prescription has run out and Dr. H. refuses to give him any more because he doesn't want to feed Brendan's addiction. This pisses Brendan off but he decides to try it Dr. H.'s way. However, he vows that if the pain is unbearable, he will have no qualms about leaving the show so that he can get the prescription from another doctor. (Personally, I think Brendan's argument makes a lot of sense: stay on the painkillers long enough to lose enough weight so that the pain isn't unbearable, and then you'll have a much easier time kicking the narcotics habit.)

Jessica's mother sends her messages of pride, love and support. This seems a far cry away from the emotionally and physically abusive relationship that Jessica described herself as having had during her childhood. So clearly they've put it back together, which is quite astonishing. This makes her mom's message very meaningful.

Elizabeth's mom has lost a lot of weight and is now cooking healthy meals and working out. She points out that when Elizabeth returns home she will be in an environment that supports her diet and her exercise regime. And that is really freakin' awesome. Elizabeth is super-happy about this and is inspired by her mom.

Mark's cousin has lost a spectacular sixty-five pounds while he's been on the ranch! And Mark has been her motivation. That is amazing. Mark thinks so, too, and he's very touched. He's absolutely gobsmacked that he's inspiring people before he even gets home. He points out that his cousin is proof that there's no reason everyone can't do it at home.

So everyone else thinks Ada deserves her own video, so they make one for her. (Awwwww. :) It's really sweet and uplifting and says a lot of wonderful things about how amazing and funny and strong and special and smart and beautiful Ada is. (Although I bet they wouldn't hesitate to vote her big-threatness out if they got the chance!) Ada's very touched and says she's never been in an environment full of people who cared so much about her. (Sad.) Group hug!

Jillian gives us what is probably the biggest laugh of the week when she defines going to singles as "no more gameplaying". Day-um, and I thought it was just Bob who was off in the sunshine, rainbows and sparkly ponies land of naivete!

Jessica tells us she's struggling emotionally and physically this week. Wow, she really must have been attached to Jesse if his departure is messing with her head that much. Romantic possibility, maybe? (They'd make a super-cute couple.) Jillian makes Elizabeth's life a living hell to demonstrate that she doesn't need to be "carried" by other people. With fantastic insight, she brings out a step platform and makes her do the 500 stepups challenge all over again in front of everyone. Because Elizabeth never finished that challenge to get in the house; rather, she came into the house because Jillian chose her for the spot. So by doing this challenge successfully, it will help Elizabeth feel like she really deserves her spot in the house. It seems to work really well and is one of those great Biggest Loser accomplishment moments. Everyone takes turns counting out Elizabeth's steps while Jillian keeps up a running commentary about how Elizabeth will know she earned her spot here and that she's just as good as everyone else. At 360 steps, which is the point where Elizabeth passed out originally, Jillian gives her weights to carry, which she starts pumping (although by 398 she's pooped out from that and is just holding them). She then runs the last ten steps and - tadah! Done! Yay! "You deserve to be here," Jillian tells her intensely. "Act like it."

Bonus video: Inspired by helping Elizabeth redo the step-up challenge, Patrick gets everyone together to try and recapture the helping-each-other spirit that they all had at the beginning of the season. He tells everyone that being with them on the ranch has been one of the most amazing experiences of his life and he's looking forward to all of them being "hot as hell". :) Lisa points out how far they've all come. Frado, in thinking back about an experience with his daughter, reflects that becoming fat doesn't affect just you, and that he will never be a burden on his family again. Brendan says he's been crying every day for almost a week and a half, and he just doesn't cry that much normally. He brings out a letter from his mom which he asks Mark to read because he can't get through it himself. She talks about how many of the things he does in his life are wonderful and make her proud, but watching him stuff himself with junk food and make the couch bow in the middle when he lies on it makes her feel helpless. She blames herself for some of his depression and offers to talk about her divorce from his father if he wants to. Brendan acknowledges that he's discovered he did have an issue about his parents' divorce and has more emotional issues than he thought, and that he hasn't been happy in a long time. Elizabeth interviews that these are things he'll have to deal with once he gets home, and that all of them have to deal with the stuff that got them there. Mark interviews that he's not lying to himself anymore and he loves it. We get a flashback of Jessica in the elimination room saying that Jesse taught her more about herself than she'd learned so far about herself in a long time. She interviews that she hasn't been cared about like that by a guy in a long time. (Ooh!) Ada came to the ranch feeling very empty as a person. But for the first time she feels worthy. She's not used to this, but she feels good about herself and is proud of her accomplishments. Patrick feels this has all solidified the group. "Biggest Loser Ten, Never Fat Again" is their new motto.

Bonus video: Bob talks to Brendan to see where his head's at. Brendan is feeling like a mess because he's starting to deal with repressed issues. Bob points out that Brendan's been so focused on gameplay that the dam is only breaking now. But he thinks Brendan is in a good spot to start figuring things out. Brendan feels that he's on the right track, even if he's just at the very start of the track.

Balance-over-water challenge! This freaks Ada out because one of her little brothers died in a kiddie pool when she was about three. Pools freak her out. (Also, her parents totally blamed her for it and so she thinks that she should have been able to swim and save her brother. Sigh.) Lisa is initially ecstatic because she thinks it's going to be a swimming challenge, but no. The rules are kind of bizarre. One person starts (Frado gets to choose who since he's got the highest percentage of weight loss in the house) and they have to balance on one foot for five seconds. If they're successful, they get to choose the next person to balance. At certain points (I never did figure out how this was determined), the time required to balance gets increased by another five seconds.

This thing where the last person to balance successfully gets to choose the next person to do the balancing means that it's possible for some people to not have to do any balancing while others do it a bunch of times. And sure enough, that's exactly what happens. It doesn't take too long for Lisa, Ada and Mark to be the only ones left (Elizabeth is really pissed off when she goes out, because balancing is her strength), and Lisa and Mark pass the buck back and forth for ages leaving Ada doing zippo for quite some time. Finally, Lisa falls in and it's just Mark and Ada left. Really, it's quite surprising that Mark is still in it, you would think this is a lighter person's challenge what with all the balancing to be done and all, but Mark actually ends up winning it!

Big Subway product placement! The contestants have to make the best sandwich. It has to be low in calories and taste great. They all get to vote on the best sandwich but they can't vote for their own. The prize is a $500 Subway gift certificate, which Lisa wins.

Last chance workout. Bob focuses on Elizabeth. (He should have focused on getting himself into a shirt that didn't have little holes all over it. Are the royalties from the Wii version of the Biggest Loser not paying you enough to buy new clothes, Bob?) Brendan interviews that he feels great in the gym. Frado looks strong, too, and is gunning for hitting the 100lb mark of total weight loss. Elizabeth starts fantasizing about losing six pounds, as that would put her below 200lbs, which she hasn't seen the likes of in about eight years, and vows never to lose sight of again. Jessica's trying to get her head back in the game. Ada's running really well on the treadmill. Bob gets a bunch of people on the step machines and pumps them up to really high levels. "Elizabeth! My head's gonna blow off my shoulders if you stop!" vows Bob, and makes her say, "I feel good, Bob!" Everyone's grunting and groaning except for Ada, who looks awesome. He gets evangelical, making everyone lift themselves off their elbows and raise their heads up. Elizabeth has an asthma episode, but the workout is over and Bob is pleased.

At the weigh-in, Ali announces that everyone really wants to stick around because the next week is...MAKEOVER WEEK! (SQUEE!!!) There is general excitement and anticipation from everybody, making me really wonder...why do none of the men ever seem to pack freakin' RAZORS when they come on this show? It always seems that there are huge beards to shave off every year. I don't get it. (DH mumbles something at this point about playoff beards. Yeah, I still don't get it.)

Once again, all the women are in the bottom half...except Ada, who is the week's Biggest Loser. I luvs her so much.

  • Frado and Brendan dropped below 275lbs
  • Frado hit the 100lb mark of total loss
  • Lisa hit the 20% mark of total loss
  • Mark, Frado and Ada hit the 25% mark of total loss
  • Lisa and Elizabeth moved from clinically obese to obese

Bonus video: It's Jessica and Elizabeth below the yellow line, and they plead their cases. Elizabeth is very frustrated because, with the exception of when they were in two groups, she has been under the yellow line the whole time. She feels that having real proof that she can kick ass and be above the yellow line is more important than making the Final Four or making Makeover Week or whatever. She wants the chance to be above the yellow line, maybe even the week's biggest loser. Jessica reflects that she's latched onto people her whole life because she feels like she can't do it by herself. So this week has made her realise that she has a lot more issues than she thought, and she needs more time on the ranch to figure out how to stand on her own two feet. She asks for mercy.

However, since Frado and Brendan adore Elizabeth and Lisa was Elizabeth's partner last week, Jessica is toast. She goes home, but not before treating herself to a little makeover of her own. Alas, the haircut makes her face look fatter, but she still looks great and feels really confident. Her family is very excited to see her and she is profiled as being down to 200lbs - great! Her goal is to be 160lbs by the finale.

Next week: (SPOILERS)

Next week, watch for less hair and the following milestones:

  • Patrick and Mark could drop below 300lbs
  • Lisa could drop below 225lbs
  • Elizabeth could drop below 200lbs
  • Patrick could hit the 100lb mark of total loss
  • Patrick and Brendan could hit the 25% mark of total loss
  • Frado could move from clinically obese to obese
  • Ada could move from obese to overweight

Video preview: Everybody's favourite episode - Makeover Week! Girly squeals and lots of shaving. (A quick shot of Mark sans beard shows us he's looking pretty awesome - actually, looks like they're leaving him with a little goatee, which looks good.) The screenshots also look very similar to the year they did the Tyra Banks show, so watch out for a potential television appearance. In a waiting room of some sort, contestants meet gobsmacked loved ones. Patrick (who has been given a silly-looking 50s-style cowlick of some kind) hugs his wife while his sons frolic around them. Lisa's daughter tearfully thanks The Biggest Loser for saving her mom's life. Also, on Wednesday, there's a Where Are They Now show, which will be really fun. Sneak peeks: Ed (of Ed and Heba) looks like he's gotten much larger again, and we also see that Max Morelli (Ron's son, Mike's brother) has dropped a lot of weight. Apparently all the previous winners are getting together to inspire someone who's gained the weight back. Warning: I've seen a promo group shot from the Where Are They Now episode, and Daniel Wright has become big again, it might be him.


# loss % total loss % lbs lost total lbs lost BMI
1 Ada (4.04) Frado (27.25) Patrick (10) Mark (112) Ada (30.7)
2 Frado (3.26) Mark (26.60) Frado (9) Frado (100) Elizabeth (34.5)
3 Patrick (3.22) Ada (26.36) Ada, Brendan, Mark (8) Patrick (99) Lisa (34.7)
4 Brendan (2.86) Brendan (24.86) Brendan (90) Jessica (35.5)
5 Lisa (2.56) Patrick (24.75) Ada (68) Frado (36.2)
6 Mark (2.52) Lisa (20.83) Lisa (6) Lisa (60) Brendan (36.9)
7 Elizabeth (2.43) Jessica (19.50) Elizabeth (5) Jessica (55) Mark (38.6)
8 Jessica (0.44) Elizabeth (17.62) Jessica (1) Elizabeth (43) Patrick (38.6)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Drama Club

Sunrise on the ranch, plus inspiring chamber music. Oh, and cupcakes. Hundreds of them. Why deary me, it must be a temptation!

Adam is unmoved. He's not a cupcake guy. But Burgandy is tempted by the very smell. Apparently when you get four hundred cupcakes all in the same room, it is an olfactory assault.

However, forget about basking in the cupcakey goodness, because Ali reveals that TWO (count 'em) people are going home this week. Yes, this week there will be a RED LINE. And as anyone who's been watching the past few seasons knows, anyone below the red line is automatically eliminated without any challenge or vote to give them the slimmest possibility of reprieve. But today's temptation could pull your ass out of the fire! There is one cupcake out here with the Biggest Loser logo on it. Finding that cupcake means you can choose to have a 1lb advantage at the weigh-in. BUT, for every week you keep the logo and choose not to use it, the advantage increases by another pound the following week. So, for example, Ali tells us, if you held onto the logo for eight weeks, you could cash it in for an eight-pound advantage. So, that's huge. Suddenly, Adam is a cupcake guy.

But it's not just blind chance. If you eat a cupcake and don't find the logo, you will get a clue as to where the winning cupcake actually is. Rick, Adam, Jesse and Elizabeth all play. Rick goes for a small one on the first shot to minimize calorie consumption. Elizabeth had no such strategy and stuffed a big one in her mouth. Lisa's strategy was to just stay away from the whole damn mess. Jesse gets "lapped" in cupcakes by Adam and Rick and wishes he'd never started. Rick eventually gets one more clue than Adam, a clue which REALLY narrows it down, but Adam picks the right cupcake first and gets the advantage. He feels great - this on top of his work ethic puts him in a really good position. The price, however, was 1350 bad calories consumed. He says it's no big deal because he'll just burn an extra 1350 calories tonight. Whispers break out behind his back and someone calls him "cocky". (I don't think it was cocky myself, I thought it was just good sense.)

Ali notes that Frado and Brendan didn't play, and Brendan says he didn't want a target on his back for a prize that wouldn't pay off for a while. Adam reflects that he didn't realise about the becoming a target thing. Oh, well!

Elizabeth is tearful and regrets participating. She's also terrified of the red line and going home. She's trying to work hard but doesn't feel any change. Brendan, standing behind her, comforts her with a bit of a back rub. This makes me realise that what Elizabeth doesn't know is that she actually has a big advantage - Brendan and Frado both competed with her in the city challenges to get on the show, and they like her and seem to have a soft spot for her...and they're part of a secret three-person alliance and could probably convince their fellow conspirator Patrick not to vote for her. So whether Elizabeth knows it or not, if it's between her and someone else (who isn't in the alliance), she's probably got three votes that won't swing her way. That's some powerful stuff.

Ali points out that when they go back to the real world, they're not going to avoid desserts for the rest of their lives. So, for healthier options, she brings in Curtis Stone! (Probably to make up for the woody-fest that was the Anna Kournikova visit last week. Now it's the ladies' turn to get their freak on.) Squeals ensue. "Who needs cupcakes?" exclaims Lisa. Apparently everything about him is "delicious". (I cannot help feeling sorry for Curtis.)

So we're going to make something decadent, delicious, and healthy. The winning cupcake, for example, was one which Curtis made, and it was just 100 calories. So you really can have sweet stuff when you're trying to lose weight, but you need positive temptation. Curtis suggests saying, "Do you mind if I make some cupcakes and bring 'em round?" if you're going off to a party at someone's house. That way, the healthy option will be right there for you.

Use egg whites instead of eggs, honey instead of sugar, wheat flour instead of white flour, use raspberry puree in the frosting. Patrick interviews that the resulting cupcakes are good, and this is great compared to the 5500 calories he was eating every day at home. (Ho. Lee. Shit.) Lisa obsesses about Curtis some more and gives him a nice, long hug.

Bonus video: Elizabeth is still mad at herself about participating in the cupcake temptation and opens up to Rick about it. She doesn't even like cupcakes, she laughs. But she's still terrified about going home. She talks about not having control over her body, and we hear that she once had a benign tumor the size of a softball that had to be removed. Rick reflects that having a high-up yellow line only dials up the pressure. He points out that even if she loses just 3lbs a week like she did at the last weigh-in, she'll be at her goal weight before the finale. (THANK YOU! WISDOM AT LAST!) And that's what we're all here for. Elizabeth talks about her father, whose health is falling apart, and she sees her life as his. Again with the fantastic wisdom, Rick points out that every single person in the house could do awesome, but there's still going to be someone below the red line and people below the yellow line. Does that mean the people under the lines did badly? No. He says the worst thing to do is put pressure on ourselves. Just do the best you can, and at the finale you'll do great. Elizabeth appreciates it and thanks him for always listening to her. "I don't have any of my kids here," he shrugs. :) They hug it out.

Adam and Aaron start talking about the temptation and how Adam now has a target on his back. Meanwhile, in another meeting of the super-secret alliance (only this time with Ada included for some reason), Brendan says that Adam went for the temptation because he's scared of the three of them. (Y'know, I want to like all the contestants, but every week I get more and more evidence that Brendan is a jerk.) Frado reflects that as time goes on, the target on Adam's back will just get bigger, so Adam should play the advantage sooner rather than later. But Aaron and Adam think it'll work out. Aaron is of course on Adam's side because Adam saved him from the elimination challenge last week. Finally, Frado points out that the advantage/target thing is kind of immaterial if you just go and put the work in. Adam, he says respectfully, puts the work in. So they have to put the work in, too. I do like Frado, I have to say. In the other room, Aaron and Adam come to the same conclusion. But Brendan is now on an anti-Adam vendetta. He asks Ada if she's in on the anti-Adam action, and she agrees.

Bonus video: So there's drama. Ada has been getting annoyed by Adam, so she vented to Brendan, and Brendan blew it up into drama, and then Frado got on board. Oy, vey. So apparently Adam thinks that Frado is a "shady", Godfather-like character and that Brendan is his concigliere and does whatever Frado tells him to do. Frado is very affronted and feels that Adam should have said such things to his face. You know, "like a man". Frado clarifies that he doesn't mind being called stupid or arrogant, but shady? That cuts deep. (I do notice, however, that Frado doesn't go back to Adam to confront him about these things. You know, "like a man"?) And it turns out that that is how Brendan ends up getting Ada to side with them against Adam.

Ooh. The plot thickens.

Everyone's sitting around and Rick points out that the trainers will be coming soon and grilling them about the temptation. (Rick just keeps proving over and over that he's the smartest man in the house.) Jesse is really nervous and knows Bob and Jillian are going to kick his ass. Sure enough, the trainers show up. Sophia explains the deal. They're blown away by the prize. Oh, and the red line thing, too. They find out that Adam won and are pretty fatalistic about it and the 1350 calories he consumed to get the victory. Sophia is SHOCKED that they didn't chew him out. "Where the heck is the hellfire?!?" she interviews, as we see Tracey flashbacks from a few seasons ago. Bob and Jillian are just having a really good day, I guess. :) Also, Adam is a hard worker, so I think they trust him.

Workout. Everyone has the red line uppermost in their minds. (Probably because Bob and Jillian keep TALKING ABOUT IT!) People freak out in interviews. Patrick remarks that the girls are under a lot of stress, as Lisa walks out of the gym to have a panic attack. Elizabeth fights through another asthma attack. Jillian feels that this is a defense mechanism and knows, from her years of training experience, that asthma isn't really the thing that's holding her back. So they talk it out. Elizabeth doesn't want to die like her father. But she doesn't really believe in her ability to control that. Jillian says that this internal battle with her crap is holding her back, that's what's affecting her breathing. Elizabeth suddenly seems to realise this and gets back on the bike.

Frado tries to keep a low profile but then Bob grabs him, saying that he loves training guys like him. He says that Frado doesn't even know how far his limits are. But Bob wants more. So Frado yells a bunch more. We hear that Frado was taking an unbelievable amount of pills every day and injecting himself with insulin, but now he's off his meds totally...which, I must say, is completely freakin' awesome.

More beatings.

But then Mark screws up his back on the rowing machine. :( This doesn't look good, and Mark is scared.

Next we focus on Aaron. Jillian has him doing ten two-minute sprints, which is pretty unbelievable for a 431lb man. He doesn't think he can do it, either, but Jillian doesn't let him quit. Then we have one of those great moments that keep me watching this show. :) Right before his last sprint, Jillian asks him how it's going to look, that he has an opportunity to change his whole dynamic and finish strong. She interviews that he needs an experience of success in an activity he didn't think he could do. This will help this whole illusion of inability that he's built up about himself to start crashing down. As she asks, "What's the last one gonna be like," Frado calls out from behind Aaron, "London!" which is the name of Aaron's son, the light of his life. Apparently Frado regularly yells this out whenever he sees Aaron ready to quit, which is fantastic. "It's gonna be my best one," Aaron says quietly. Jillian jacks him up until he's yelling it like he means it. "Come on, let's go!" yells out Frado. Aaron interviews that the two things he wants his son to understand are a) unconditional love and b) relentless, passionate, hard work. And he wants London to look at him and say that he wants to be like his dad. So here we go. Supportive yells and whoops come from all over the gym as he sprints it out. And Jillian actually gives out compliments.

Now that is good TV.

Also, eat broccoli. Bob says so.

So...weigh-in! Adam bets on himself and holds back his advantage. Bob and Jillian get into a philosphical argument of gameplay vs getting your life back.

Milestones achieved:

  • Adam dropped under 350lbs
  • Rick dropped under 300lbs
  • Ada and Elizabeth dropped under 225lbs
  • Ada, Lisa and Jessica hit 25lbs of total loss
  • Adam, Rick and Frado hit 50lbs of total loss
  • Aaron, Frado, Patrick, Brendan and Ada hit the 10% mark of total loss
  • Rick hit the 15% mark of total loss
  • Jesse moved from super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Jessica and Lisa moved from morbidly obese to clinically obese

Sadly, though, it's Sophia under the red line and she has to leave campus immediately. Back at home, she's down to 225lbs (a BMI of 35.2, which is clinically obese on the cusp of moving to just plain obese), and is able to coach her cheerleading team properly without looking like a ridiculous hypocrite. The team, for their part, is really supportive of her and is happy to see her doing so well. She also leads spin classes. Her goal is to be down to 172lbs by the finale.

Frado, the biggest loser of the week (thanks to the extra boost from his obvious waterloading last week) has to decide whom to save from the elimination challenge. So he talks to Mark about how his back is doing. Mark wants to be okay so that he can participate in the challenge and Frado can pick someone else. He doesn't seem very sure, but he tells Frado that he can do the challenge.

Bonus video: Frado continues to weigh his options. He says he truly adores the six people at risk, so it's a tough choice. He talks with Jessica, who calls him "Pops". She's pissed off at being under, because she busted her ass this week. She asks Frado to reward her for doing really well this week. He calls her the "top dog of the bottom six". Then he talks to Elizabeth. He asks whether she wants him to save her, or whether she wants to compete. She says that she will always fight. Lisa gets all tearful, which I have to imagine is at least a little bit annoying for a guy like Frado. She claims that she wants to be here and doesn't feel ready to go home, which is how you can tell that she's not, well, ready to go home. Jesse says he's always up for a challenge, so if Frado doesn't pick him, he'll just do his best. Frado obviously likes this, and they clap hands and man-hug it out. Frado really likes Jesse. Burgandy says she feels like she works like crazy. She's never asked for the nod before, she says (hello? last week with Adam?), but she's asking for it now. However, she says, if she doesn't get it, the two of them are still totally cool. At the end of it all, Frado is torn between Jesse and Jessica.

Hey, did you know that Subway is doing breakfasts now? It's called "Build a Better Breakfast". Like OMG, wow! The contestants had no idea they could get breakfast at Subway! And you can, too! Nutritious breakfasts are now easy and delicious! And also, Subway! For breakfast!

Workout time. Ada is in trouble because she basically asked for beatings from Jillian during the weigh-in. We actually get a good bit of insight as to how the weigh-ins are filmed: they take a really long time to do and there's a lot of downtime, during which there's a lot of opportunity to talk. So Ada made the dumbass move of telling Jillian she didn't feel she'd had a breakthrough yet. But what it turns out that what this all is is Ada's way of setting up a failing experience for herself, because that's what she's used to and comfortable with: pushing Jillian to push her so she can give up. And this is exactly what happens. (Incidentally, Jillian is wearing a t-shirt that says Disco Sucks. I think my husband will now love her forever.) "Does this feel just like home?" Jillian asks Ada. "Yup," Ada responds. Jillian follows through: "Good and comfortable here?" This pushes Ada beyond her emotional limits and she leaves the gym.

Outside, they have a heart-to-heart. Nothing Ada has ever done has been good enough for her parents. They call her an idiot, tell her she's worthless. She's always felt they were never proud of her. She tells Jillian about her brother drowning in the kiddie pool with her when her parents went away to get a towel. She knows that they blame her, even though she didn't cause it. But her parents have actually said, "Why couldn't it have been you." They also go on about her weight, saying that she's so fat, she can't do anything right, and they can't stand to look at her.

Man, you know, I already heard most of this before and despised her parents for it, but hearing it again in greater detail, I now loathe them with the heat of a thousand suns. How CAN you do that to your own children. Children are precious, they're gifts to us. It is our sacred responsibility to build them up, and cushion them always with unconditional love, so that they have stability and confidence and self-belief. Hearing the story of a person who experienced the exact opposite of that just breaks my heart. It goes against everything that is good and right and humane. HOW can you do that to a child. Ugh.

But back to Ada specifically. She wants to be happy about the good things she's achieving on the ranch, but she doesn't know how to have those feelings. Jillian advises her to give herself time. She says that until Ada is strong enough to deal with all of her pain, she's not going to be able to feel the good stuff, either. She also identifies to Ada that the environment she grew up in was abusive. (I'm glad someone finally said it.) But, Jillian says, there must be some part of Ada that doesn't believe she's a complete screwup, or she wouldn't bother being here at the ranch. Ada looks up with a hopeful smile that really is like the sun coming up. She wants to be happy with the person that she is.

Okay, it's a start. I just wish Jillian had pointed out that maybe Ada hasn't been failing her whole life, that it's her parents who have been failing her.

For Bob's part, he's pissed off that the girls (yeah, the show is still calling them that) keep falling below the yellow line. He tries to whip them up into a fury of effort. As part of his below-the-yellow-liners rehabilitation effort, he goes to DESPERATE methods and tries something that has NEVER been tried before.


Wait for it...

It's rather shocking...



Dunh, dunh, duuuuuuunh.

So, unsurprisingly, Bob's home is impeccably decorated. He remarks at how nice everyone looks in their off-ranch clothes and how loosely they fit. :)

Mark asks to see Bob's fridge. It contains a lot of fruits and vegetables. But generally he doesn't keep a lot of food in the house. Burgandy doesn't either, that's why they go out for fast food so much, so she's wondering how Bob hacks it. Bob says that the food in the house should have a shelf life of no longer than two weeks, because that means that the food you have is unprocessed. He also works in a little plug for Brita water filters.

He then treats everyone to a vegan meal. Not that he prepared it himself, of course (although he did consider faking it by putting it in pots, which was hilarious), he got a friend to cook for them, but it all looks spectacularly delicious - roasted wild mushroom leek and fennel salad, tomatoes and basil salad, broccolini with pine nuts, and cauliflower. Gawd that makes me hungry, it all looks fantastic. He points out that colourful food is healthy food, that's where all the nutrients are. He remarks that he's been all around the country and seen a lot of beige food, which is not the way to go. (Take note, audience at home!)

Bob then asks people what dinner at their houses look like. Lisa points out that there's a pizza place near their house where they can get a large pizza to feed the family for five bucks. Bob admits that he can't compete with that, but good food (like a bag of beans or whole wheat pasta) is also inexpensive. But he says that Lisa, as a parent, has a responsibility to teach her kids how to eat properly, and he tells her the kids are worth more than a $5 pizza. He knows she's tired, but she can do things to help the kids more. Lisa is jazzed to show her kids how to eat healthily. Everyone's very enthusiastic about the vegan meal, and thank Bob for his hospitality. They all clink their water glasses.

Back at the ranch, Burgandy has been experiencing shin pain for a while now, and finally went to Dr. H. Turns out she has severe tendonitis. She gets a boot to take stress off the bone and immobilize the tendon. But she's out of the elimination challenge. Dr. H. doesn't care much about the yellow line thing, he's more concerned about Burgandy's long-term health, and gets all Dr. McCoy on her ass: "I don't take care of the yellow line, I'm a doctor!"

So Burgandy is therefore automatically up for elimination. They still need to do an elimination challenge, though, because she needs to have someone else with her so people can decide whom to vote for. Meanwhile, Frado has decided to save Jessica from the elimination challenge because she came so close to making it over the yellow line. She is really grateful. Therefore, we have Mark, Jesse, Lisa and Elizabeth duking it out over...carpet! No, not that kind of carpet, you gutter-minded people (although that would be an interesting challenge of...uh...endurance ;). I'm talking about actual carpet. They each have 300ft length of carpet (weighing over 900lbs) rolled up on a big SQUARE tube (the square part making it damn hard to roll, of course) which they have to unroll over the length of some kind of massive sports arena. Then they have to run back and push their button to indicate they're finished. Last one to push their button is up for elimination with Burgandy.

Mark takes an early lead and stays there. Jesse comes in second, so it's down to Lisa and Elizabeth. Elizabeth struggles the whole time because she has a hard time getting a bounce momentum going with the tube. Lisa loses steam near the end because she gets her carpet off-course, but ends up saving herself, encouraging Elizabeth to keep going as she runs back to her button. Elizabeth refuses to give up the whole time and fights, even when she gets her foot stuck under the thing. Mark, Jesse and Lisa then come out to encourage her into finishing, which she does with fantastic, screaming energy. She seems genuinely happy about how she did, which is great.

Personally, I like Elizabeth a lot better than Burgandy (whom I find a bit annoying), but I think Elizabeth has a better shot of succeeding at home. I keep thinking of Burgandy and her military wife-ness and her five children and her foster children, and her having an autistic child as well, and I just cannot imagine where she's going to get the time to work out.

No one else is thinking along these lines, though, because only Ada votes to keep Burgandy around. However, it turns out that I needn't have worried. Burgandy incorporates fitness into her life and takes her kids with her when she does it. As a result, she's down to 180lbs, which gives her a BMI of 30.9. That's very close to being down to just overweight. So she's doing very well indeed. She also seems to be running a community walking club kind of thing, which she seems really good at. Also, she's looking great. Burgandy is a pretty lady.

Ali then springs a surprise on the remaining contestants. The house is empty by one more person...for the moment. But behind them on a balcony are the five contestants that didn't make it out of the city challenges: Montina, Anna, Corey, Sandy and Shanna. All with arms folded and looking fierce, as no doubt instructed by the producers.

A-ha! I knew we'd be seeing those guys again! This of course explains why the show ditched two people this week - to make room for one more.

Next week: (SPOILERS)

TV Guide: Players who didn't make the initial cut for a spot on the ranch return to weigh in, and the person with the highest percentage of weight loss wins entry into the competition. Later, the contestants are split into blue and black teams and compete in a food-trivia challenge in downtown Los Angeles.


  • Mark and Patrick could drop below 350lbs
  • Jessica could drop below 250lbs
  • Elizabeth could hit the 25lb mark of total loss
  • Aaron, Jesse, Patrick and Brendan could hit the 50lb mark of total loss
  • Elizabeth, Lisa and Jessica could hit the 10% mark of total loss
  • Ada, Frado, Mark, Jesse, Brendan and Adam could hit the 15% mark of total loss
  • Aaron could move from super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Ada could move from clinically obese to obese


# loss % total loss % lbs lost total lbs lost BMI
1 Frado (5.93) Rick (15.14) Frado (20) Mark (60) Ada (36.2)
2 Ada (4.27) Mark (14.25) Aaron (12) Adam (56) Burgandy (36.6)
3 Brendan (3.37) Adam (13.93) Brendan (11) Rick (53) Elizabeth (38.3)
4 Rick (2.94) Frado (13.62) Ada, Adam, Patrick (10) Frado (50) Sophia (39.2)
5 Adam (2.81) Ada (13.18) Aaron (49) Lisa (39.5)
6 Aaron (2.78) Jesse (13.01) Jesse (48) Jessica (39.8)
7 Patrick (2.73) Brendan (12.98) Rick (9) Brendan (47) Brendan (42.7)
8 Jessica (2.68) Patrick (11.00) Jesse, Mark (8) Patrick (44) Frado (43.0)
9 Elizabeth, Lisa (2.62) Aaron (10.47) Ada (34) Rick (43.9)
10 Jessica (9.93) Jessica, Lisa (7) Jessica, Lisa (28) Adam (44.4)
11 Jesse (2.43) Lisa (9.72) Mark (45.1)
12 Burgandy (2.29) Elizabeth (8.61) Elizabeth (6) Sophia (22) Patrick (45.7)
13 Mark (2.17) Sophia (8.09) Burgandy (5) Elizabeth (21) Jesse (48.8)
14 Sophia (0.79) Burgandy (7.79) Sophia (2) Burgandy (18) Aaron (51.0)

Selfish is good

(This is an incredibly late recap of the October 5 show.)

We must immediately flash back to last week so that the viewership can understand what's going on. The most important message is that THIS SEASON IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER SEASONS SO PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GAWD DON'T CHANGE THAT DIAL. The yellow line at weigh-ins is around the halfway mark. This drops a ton of people below, which means we need an elimination challenge so people can fight to stay out of the elimination room. Also, the first weigh-in did not go well for the ladies. Finally, it came down to Allie and Tina. Tina begged tearfully to stay and was kept, leaving Allie terrified of going home.

So what's happening now? What a great question! Could there be...drama??? Patrick interviews that things are TENSE. People are upset and aggravated. The concept of eliminating contestants every week is finally starting to sink in and people are feeling a little stunned. Brendan continues to have one of the hairiest torsos I've ever seen.

Having survived the elimination, Tina is feeling really guilty about having begged to stay over Allie. Lisa interviews that she's really bummed that Allie is gone. And Ada says there are "whispers" going around the house that Tina actually now wants to go home.

Seems like the whispers are true! Tina addresses the entire house and thanks them for keeping her, but then breaks into tears. Almost incomprehensibly (what with all the crying), she confesses that she has guilt, says that her begging to stay was "being all screwed up", and says she's going to ask to go home today.

The hell?

Look, chickie, going home now is not going to bring Allie back! She was already eliminated, her plane has probably touched down in Oklahoma by now, you're not doing ANYBODY any favours by going home, you're just giving up on yourself.

Frado sums my feelings up nicely by telling Tina she's being selfish and she needs to take advantage of the opportunity. Moreover, he says, as Rick nods in agreement, her responsibility is to honour Allie and stay. Brendan also points out, quite rightly, that going home the day after the elimination makes no sense. Tina claims she just doesn't want to bring anybody down, which makes even LESS sense. If she's a weak link that's guaranteed to be below the yellow line, she would actually bump everyone else UP one position. I'm thinking Tina just isn't too bright. Brendan also calls her selfish. Rick, that wise and perceptive paternal figure, asks her if there's anything at home that she wants to go back for. Tina reveals that right before she came on the show, she withdrew $16K from her retirement fund to take her entire family on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.


Okay, NOW her actions are making sense.

This doesn't change much, though - the rest of the house is still flabbergasted that she wouldn't want to be here. But wait, there's even more flabber to gast! Lisa says that Allie going home has shortened HER stay in the house, because she believes Allie can't lose weight at home and she wants to go home so she can help Allie to do it.

The hell?

Patrick, again expressing my feelings beautifully, interviews that that's absurd. However, Lisa has certainly been effective in taking the heat off Tina, because now everyone concentrates on pointing out how ridiculous LISA is being. Seriously, Lisa? Your mothering complex is THAT BAD that you are willing to throw away a lifetime, life-changing opportunity and sacrifice yourself for some young woman that you only met, what, a month ago? What about Lisa's kids, Frado asks. Lisa has no answer, she just says that she and Allie can do this together because they live just ten miles apart. Elizabeth points out that Lisa needs to take care of herself. Lisa isn't listening. Like, at all. Frado shakes his head pityingly in an interview. Jessica offers to help the both of them pack.

So the show sends Bob in to handle All Teh Drama. When he finds out what's happening, he calls bullshit and tells Tina she's not ready to go home and that every person here is just as deserving to stay as everyone else. He reflects that the first elimination always makes everyone crazy. His cure is to take them all to the gym. No Jillian, just Bob, and it will be a major circuit workout. In fact, from now on, ALL workouts have to be insane because weigh-ins can obviously apparently at any moment. Adam senses impending doom.

Adam interviews that he thinks Bob is on a mission to find out if anyone else is feeling less than totally committed to this process. Case in point: Bob threatens to break Jesse's legs and beat him with them. Much sweat is exuded. We get a bit of focus on Patrick and hear again that his purpose for being here is his children. Who, I might say, are really cute. :) Elizabeth's focus is to be healthy so she can do things she loves, like dancing.

Moans. Falls. Puking. Yells. Sweat. Etc.

Great line from Burgandy: "Bob crushes you into dust and then asks you to enjoy it."

But it works, because Lisa walks out of the gym that day feeling good about herself.

Bob is also having the same problem with Brendan as I have with my older daughter getting ready in the mornings: he's not going fast enough and is hoping to take advantage of Bob's inattention to go slower. Bob channels my parenting and calls him on his shit.

Frado interviews macho-ly that Bob gave him the toughest workout of his life...and he's been in the Marine Corps and played football, dammit, so you KNOW that Bob's a goddamn hardass. Rick gets amused in an interview about how loud Frado is in the gym. He sure does yell. :) He also, with classic military mindset, refuses to talk back to Bob. It's Bob's gym, and Bob is in charge.

Sadly, Jesse has no such mindset. "You got something to say to me, Jesse?" Bob asks him. "I don't have shit to say to you, Bob," replies Jesse as he walks away to a stair machine. Bob's eyes go wide with disbelief. Jesse starts whining about how things are hard for him, while Bob demands respect. Jesse apologizes. But it's too late. In return for Jesse's bad behaviour, Bob decides not to give everyone the easier thing he was planning for them to do. Naturally, this makes Jesse feel like crap, especially since he really does respect Bob a lot.

Tina shows Bob pictures of her kids and grandchildren. Oh, says Bob, she's such a nurturer. But how can you take care of others if you don't take care of yourself? We also find out that Tina's daughter is enormous and has diabetes and other obesity-related health problems. Her daughter tried out for the show but it's Tina who's here. (Geez. If I were Tina, I would be happy to stay on the ranch, rather than going home and risking my kid coming after me with a shotgun because I screwed her up so badly.) Bob talks to her about not giving up, and tells her that she does have strength, and she needs to be here so she can pay it forward to her daughter. Tina decides that she owes it to her daughter to stay.

Yeah, I don't buy it. Tina's just an emotional see-saw.

Meanwhile, Jillian is (predictably) really pissed off because almost all the women were below the yellow line last week. Bob's not particularly happy about it, either. Jillian takes the girls outside and tells them this is unacceptable and she does not want this season to be a jockfest. Well, maybe Jillian, if you didn't call them GIRLS all the time, and maybe started referring them as WOMEN, so that they could internall DEFINE themselves as such, they'd start kicking a little more ASS? Just a suggestion there.

Tennis, anyone? The show has brought in Anna Kournikova. Burgandy is very excited. The camera assists with Anna's entrance by slowing down and softening up, and the Biggest Loser crew brings out a wind machine for her hair, and we get an interview with Mark telling us that all the male contestants were especially gobsmacked. Jesse also tells us that she is "slammin' hot". Apparently, Anna could teach him calligraphy and he would be riveted. (As a calligrapher, I find calligraphy very interesting, and I take exception to that statement. Unfortunately, I suspect that Jesse's backup "most boring activity ever" would have been knitting, which I'm also obsessed with, so either way, I must be the world's dullest recapper.) At any rate, in case you didn't notice, the point here is that Anna Kournikova is hot.

Anna tells us that the most important thing is to always keep your feet moving and your heartrate up. Adam had no idea that tennis was so demanding. Brendan interviews that it's a great workout and is much more fun than the gym. Anna was inspired by the contestants and hopes she inspired them, too. Turns out she inspired Brendan to hug her for an inappropriately long length of time and comment on how great she smells. Fantastic, now she has a hairy-backed stalker.

Bonus video: Cardio tennis! In which the point is not to be good at tennis, but to burn calories. (Okay, then, I'm in. I SUCK at tennis.) Rick (whom she calls Richard, which I bet thrills him no end) gets a hug from Anna. Aaron is a big fan, so this is a dream come true. She demonstrates hopping side-to-side to Brendan and all he does is look at her ass. He admits in an interview that it was very hard to concentrate with her around. Jesse plans a proposal. Burgandy feels likes she's in her element. Ali thanks Anna for coming and Anna is deluged with sweaty hugs. By golly, she's a good sport.

But wait, the fun is not finished, there's a challenge! The prize is immunity at this week's weigh-in. Everybody gets a cylinder and has to fill up other people's tubes with tennis balls they have to run onto the court and get. Once your tube is full, you're out.

Brendan's goal is to avoid giving balls to Frado or Patrick, as the three of them have an alliance. Frado just wants to give balls to Tina. And he's not alone - everyone gets in on the action. Adam defines this as "making Tina earn her spot". Tina receives the message. The next target is Burgandy, who apparently was talking about taking all the men out first, so Brendan wants her gone. Burgandy doesn't quite know why she was targeted, but chooses to believe it's because she's viewed as a threat. (Um, honey? No.) Sophia, Ada, Lisa, Aaron, and Adam are next to go. Things are getting tough and gruelling for the remaining players as Elizabeth is taken out, and then Rick, Mark, Jessica, and Jesse. Unsurprisingly, it's the three-man alliance of Frado, Patrick and Brendan left standing. Adam remarks that maybe they have some kind of agreement? (Good call, Adam. I'll be interested in seeing where you go with that line of thinking over the next few weeks.)

Finally, it's Frado with immunity. In triumph, he yells. (No surprise.) He vows not to take it as a free ride and will continue his intensity in the gym.

Oh, and hey, surprise! Weigh-in tomorrow! Rick tells us that the contestants have been completely wrong so far in predicting what will happen next, so they might as well give up trying.

Super-secret meeting of the three-man alliance! And Patrick makes absolutely sure that it will be super-secret by sticking his head out the door and making sure the hallway is TOTALLY CLEAR before going back inside whoever's bedroom they're meeting in. (Yeah. Like if anyone happened to see him do that, they would NEVER GUESS that something was going on.)

Bonus video: more footage of the super-secret meeting. Brendan admits that he's sort of dumb as sand, but he's got street smarts, dammit. Also, people have apparently been trying to listen to their super-secret meetings. Patrick interprets this to mean that people are scared of them. (Gawd, what are these, people, five?) Brendan suggests coming up with a strategy to vote specific people out, but Frado would rather just work hard in the gym and keep each other safe. Brendan points out that that's great, but there are going to be weeks where, y'know...which I guess means that there will be weeks where the opportunity will present itself to eliminate serious threats (Mark immediately springs to my mind, for instance). Brendan defines Frado as a tough Marine and Patrick defines himself as a country bumpkin. Frado welcomes him to the city. :)

Nothing really interesting happens, except that they all tell each other how great they all think each other is. Oh, and they promise to make sure that no one finds out what they've got going on. Fist-bumps ensue.

And now, the Dreaded Second Weigh-in (introduced by Jillian, who is still not over the lack of female achievement on the scale), where people typically throw up very low numbers. And indeed, my weight predictions this week are based on subtracting an entire percentage point from people's weekly average so far (remembering that last week's weigh-in occurred TWO weeks after the initial weigh-in, so I divided last week's results by two to get "average"), and my predictions kicked some serious ASS. I guessed exactly right for several people.

(Yes, I'm tooting my own horn. Shut up, it's my blog. Besides, being selfish is good.)

Milestones achieved:

  • Mark hit the 50lb mark of total loss
  • Patrick hit the 25lb mark of total loss
  • Adam, Mark and Jesse hit the 10% mark of total loss
  • Sophia moved from being morbidly obese to clinically obese

Frado's number was particularly bad, with just a 3lb loss. He pretends that he feels bad, but come on, he totally waterloaded. A good week to do it, since the Dreaded Second Weigh-in provides an excellent screen for bad numbers. Even Jillian is taken in, saying that she doesn't think Frado is a game-playing type of person. (Oh, Jillian, what charming naivete.) But he practically admits it in an interview.

I should go on record here to say that I don't think badly of anyone for waterloading when they have immunity. It is an extremely smart move, it makes total sense, and actually I think it would be silly NOT to do it. Artificially raising your weight by drinking a bunch of water when your weight loss doesn't matter one week means that you will have a fantastic number at the next weigh-in once the water is out of your system and you've had another week of working out and eating right. So getting immunity one week is actually like getting immunity for two, if you play it right. Frado played it right. I have no qualms. I just wish people would be more honest and not pretend that they're not doing it.

The ladies do somewhat better than last week, but not a whole lot - this time there are two of them above the line instead of just one. (Notice that the only female who's been above the line both times is Ada. I am starting to love her. Sadly, she still has no love for herself. But hopefully we'll get around to fixing that soon.)

Adam, as the biggest loser of the week, gets to save someone. Burgandy, who lost just a pound this week, pleads her case to him for staying, and he looks like he's seriously considering it.

After a product placement and Tina telling Bob she actually now wants to stay (see-saw!), we have a workout. Bob promises Aaron - who is very frustrated at dropping below the line - that they're going to fix things. Jillian kicks the guys' asses. Bob reflects on the need to not beat the crap out of the contestants who need to participate in the elimination challenge, since they need to be fresh for the challenge. My husband remarks how that sucks, since people who fall below the line would then get a substandard workout and run an even greater risk of falling below the line the following week.

Bob uses the workout to try and teach Lisa to be selfish. She cries and Bob tells her he sees something special in her. Oh, also, he mentions the pay-it-forward theme again.

Bonus video: Adam marvels at all the alliancing and gameplaying that's starting to go on - why not just do your best and work out? But of course he has a gameplay-related decision to make about whom to save from the elimination challenge. Lisa reassures him that she doesn't expect the pass just because they're good friends. Plus, Bob gave her An Epiphany, so everything's cool. "I don't know what I'm gonna do," Adam reflects as she leans on his shoulder. "I mean about lunch," he then clarifies. Okay, that was funny. :)

Aaron's workout has him thinking about getting rid of his losing attitude. This makes him start to think about how maybe he should fight for himself. So he asks Adam to consider saving him. This is kind of a breakthrough realisation for Aaron, asking for help, that's pretty good. And it makes a difference, because Adam does end up choosing to save Aaron.

The elimination challenge is to dig through four massive piles of sand (one pile at a time) looking for a brass ring. Whoever finds the brass ring in a pile first is safe from elimination, and the remaining people at risk have to move to the next pile and dig again. By the end of it, there will be two players without rings, and they will be the players up for elimination. Brendan does a lot of whining about how he deserves a ring and can't believe he hasn't found a ring, and how he uncovered a ring, but Sophia grabbed the ring, and ring ring ring waa waa waa...suck it up boy, dig!

Once all the dust, er, sand, clears, the two people on the block are Lisa and Tina. Burgandy notes the poetic justice that the two people who said they wanted to go home at the beginning of the week are the two up for elimination. Lisa makes a heartfelt plea, saying that for a while she was wanting to go home to her kids and wasn't really working hard, but she now knows she's not ready and needs to stay. Brendan is unmoved, he calls bullshit. Tina simply says that she worked hard and it's up to the rest of them. She doesn't put much effort into her case, which disgusts Adam. He doesn't seem to be alone in these feelings, because Tina gets the boot without Lisa even receiving a single vote.

Back at home, Tina is continuing to fight the good fight and has helped her daughter lose a bunch of weight, too - 85lbs! Tina is down to 205lbs, which is a BMI of 32.1, so she's now merely obese. Tina wants her and her daughter to come on the finale together on stage.

Next week:

Look for the following milestones:

  • Adam could drop below the 350lb mark
  • Rick could drop below the 300lb mark
  • Sophia could drop below the 250lb mark
  • Elizabeth could drop below the 225lb mark
  • Ada, Sophia, Tina, Lisa and Jessica could hit the 25lb mark of total loss
  • Aaron, Rick, Jesse and Adam could hit the 50lb mark of total loss
  • Aaron, Tina, Patrick, Brendan, Frado, Jessica and Ada could hit the 10% mark of total loss
  • Adam, Rick and Mark could hit the 15% mark of total loss
  • Jesse could move from being super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Jessica and Lisa could move from being morbidly obese to clinically obese


# loss % total loss % lbs lost total lbs lost BMI
1 Adam (3.26) Rick (12.57) Adam, Patrick (12) Mark (52) Burgandy (37.4)
2 Patrick (3.17) Mark (12.35) Adam (46) Ada (37.8)
3 Jesse (2.95) Adam (11.44) Mark (11) Rick (44) Tina (38.1)
4 Mark (2.89) Jesse (10.84) Jesse (10) Jesse (40) Elizabeth (39.3)
5 Jessica (2.61) Brendan (9.94) Rick (8) Aaron (37) Sophia (39.5)
6 Rick (2.55) Ada (9.30) Aaron, Jessica (7) Brendan (36) Lisa (40.6)
7 Ada (2.50) Patrick (8.50) Patrick (34) Jessica (40.9)
8 Sophia (2.33) Frado (8.17) Ada, Sophia (6) Frado (30) Brendan (44.2)
9 Lisa (1.84) Aaron (7.91) Ada (24) Rick (45.2)
10 Tina (1.62) Tina (7.60) Brendan, Lisa (5) Jessica, Lisa (21) Frado (45.7)
11 Aaron (1.60) Jessica (7.45) Adam (45.7)
12 Brendan (1.51) Sophia (7.35) Tina (4) Sophia, Tina (20) Mark (46.1)
13 Elizabeth (1.29) Lisa (7.29) Elizabeth, Frado (3) Patrick (47.0)
14 Frado (0.88) Elizabeth (6.15) Elizabeth (15) Jesse (50.0)
15 Burgandy (0.46) Burgandy (5.63) Burgandy (1) Burgandy (13) Aaron (52.5)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So here we are! On campus! Ali officially welcomes the 14 competitors. She then instantly surprises them by saying that there's another team coming to join them. Of the seven eliminated contestants from last week, Bob and Jillian each got to pick someone to "save" and bring on campus. Bob chose Aaron, and Jillian chose Elizabeth. (Personally, I'm really happy with those picks. Well done, trainers.) Aaron and Elizabeth are now the Yellow team. Sophia is particularly happy to see Aaron, as she competed against him in Detroit and cares about him and his family. Frado is likewise glad to see Elizabeth as they had bonded when they competed in Boston.

Ali then makes it clear that although there are colour-coded teams, everyone is playing as individuals. This kind of bums people out, as they realise they have no support system whatsoever. And on that note, they get sent to the gym for some beatings. They run over with tremendous cheering and enthusiasm, which is very short-lived, as Bob and Jillian get right down to business. Bob tells us that the point of the first workout is to show the contestants what rock bottom is like.

(I'm just glad that Bob and Jillian are teaming up again this season instead of being adversaries. I think it's much more productive.)

Montage of sweating and screaming contestants. Puke shots. "This is hell," reflects Tina. Testimonial from Lisa that natural childbirth doesn't compare to the first workout. Jillian dabbles in playing psychoanalyst with Jesse. Patrick has a great session with Bob, who is tremendously encouraging and finds exactly the right motivation to keep him going. That was a great moment.

Now that everyone's spirit is broken, Jillian gleefully quips, "Where's the cheering? No cheering? What happened to the cheering?" right before Tina falls off her treadmill. She's got something to prove, though, so she gets back up. Adam digs deep and thinks about his family members to help him keep going. Jillian bullies Sophia and pushes her buttons by implying she's in a victim mentality.

Rick gets lightheaded from the workout, starts to pass out, and has to stop. He's very disappointed. He's not the only one having trouble - Elizabeth's asthma is firing up again. Bob makes her calm down and get her breath back. He's beautifully encouraging and self-esteem providing. Damn, you know, Bob could make a really good labour coach. :)

Great line during this workout, from Jesse: "Jillian was in my face so close that I could smell what she had for breakfast."

Bonus video: Jillian likes training singles, it lets her psychoanalyse easier. She gets Burgundy to work out her frustrations by bouncing medicine balls, carrying Jillian, doing pullups, etc. She interviews it was adrenaline-raising, overwhelming and incredible. Meanwhile, Mark tells Bob he's not married, and is 421lbs. Bob asks Mark to imagine what he's going to look like at 215lbs. "Sexy!" Mark enthuses. Bob praises the control of Mark's form and wants to know how Mark lost control over his life. He refuses to accept "I don't know" as an answer. He thinks Mark is different from other people he's trained and doesn't understand what could be happening. Mark replies that he eats his worries away and he wants to redirect his focus.

Everyone is wiped.

Bonus video: We learn more about why Bob and Jillian chose to save Aaron and Elizabeth, and bring them to the ranch. Bob wants them to know that he and Jillian saw special stuff in them. This is a pretty good warm fuzzy for the Yellows. Aaron confesses that his son was the only thing that kept him going through the workout. It's all feelgood. :)

So let's really make everyone feel cheerful with a visit to Dr. Huizenga! That's always good for kicking the depression up a notch. He introduces this segment by telling us that most of the contestants either haven't seen a doctor in ages, or have sub-par doctors who are just "phoning it in" with them. Way to generate goodwill among your colleagues there, Doc. ;)

Lisa's wakeup call comes in the form of a side shot of her belly. And her cholesterol is completely whacked. And her vessels are riddled with plaque. And yet, she's only 31. Oh, also, she's a smoker. Based on all this, Dr. H tells her her inner age is 62. And to further scare the crap out of her, he says that even though some of the sickest people in the world come on this show, he's hardly ever seen anyone whose inner age is DOUBLE that of their real age. He then gets quite aggressive (for him) and tells her that she's not acting like she wants to live. He assures her it's all reversible as long as she's willing "to kick some serious ass". Wow, who ARE you and what the HELL have you done with Dr. H? Lisa is gobsmacked. (At the state of her health, that is, not at Dr. H.'s new-found in-your-faceness.)

But we then see that Dr. H. has added new scare tactics to his arsenal this season, as he shows Tina a realistic, squishy model (at least, gawd, it BETTER be a model) of a human heart with a normal fat content. Tina, on the other hand, has a heart with about four or five times that normal amount of fat. Plus, large fat pads on the outside of the heart. So fat is being deposited in her organs as well as under her skin.

Aaron gets to see a scan of his insides, showing bone and muscle and fat, and - no surprise - there's a lot of fat there. 51%, to be exact. Also, he has diabetes. His whole approach to food needs to change.

Patrick has significant cholesterol plaque in his neck arteries. It's like a 65-year-old man in there.

Rick is simply scary. Normally, someone of his age would have a 4% risk of heart disease. But Rick's is 32%. Those are bad odds. Dr. H. wants to hit the message home and gives Rick a video phone call to his family. He promises to work hard and his family is unbelievably supportive and loving, it's super-touching.

Adam tells Dr. H. that diabetes killed his mom and wants to know if it's too late for him. Yes, Dr. H. tells him, it's curable, but not with the amount of fat his body has right now. He also gets a video call, apparently to his grandparents and brother.

Finally, we move to Allie, and Dr. H. kicks it up yet another notch. As we learned last week, Allie had gastric bypass surgery when she was younger, in an attempt to control her weight. Her doctor told her it was that or death, so of course she took the surgery. We now learn that she was FOURTEEN at the time. Dr. H. also tells us that it's very typical for people who have had this surgery to lose a significant amount of muscle, not just fat. Consequently, Allie has a higher body fat percentage than anyone else currently on the show. Dr. H. also tears her surgeon a new one for giving her the surgery so young, and for not following up after it was done to make sure she was okay. (With very strong implications that all the doctor wanted was the paycheque.) Allie then gets a video conference with her mom and sister and tells her mom that their family absolutely MUST make a change together. She really wants this change to be she and her mom together, not just her.

Of course, it's not just about working out. Bob and Jillian round everyone up in the kitchen to talk about their food intake. They stress wholesome, real food, and ask everybody what they used to eat. Aaron's fave is The Terminator, a sandwich with prime rib, cheese, and french fries. Brendan likes The Gravedigger, a bacon double cheeseburger with mayo. Jillian makes pukey faces. (Personally, I can't believe that restaurants can actually get away with naming their dishes like that. And people still BUY them! Gawd, why not just name your restaurant Our Food Will Kill You If You Eat Here Every Week and have done with it!)

Bob says the common denominator in all of these death foods is the SIZE. He makes reference to how everything is bigger and better in America, but in this case, bigger isn't better. (Personally, I wish he'd gone into a bit more of a rant about the North American penchant for excess and greed, but baby steps, I guess. Also probably not so great to offend and alienate your audience by dissing their worldview.) He stresses portion control.

Jillian realises that the contestants don't even really know what "eating right" means. Adam finally pipes up that it means eating fewer calories. At least they know that a calorie is a unit of energy. I'm also impressed that a lot of them know that 3500 calories equals a pound. (Hell, I didn't know that.) We start hearing interview clips from the contestants (filmed after the information session in the kitchen, obviously) talking about what is good food to eat: non-processed, not a lot of sugar, lean, green. A little protein, a little fat. Bob stresses that drinking your calories is a bad idea. This is all pretty good information for the folks at home, even if it was delivered quickly.

Bonus video: It's a getting-to-know-you session. Jessica tells everyone she's always been big, even in kindergarten. She moved out when she was 17 and went to college. She learned that she had to be outgoing if she wanted anyone to be her friend. She got drunk at a party at one point and was locked in a room and raped. This was her first sexual experience. She never said anything about it but she did put on 80lbs. Now, as a wedding planner, her job is to make women's fantasies come true. She watches brides walk down the aisle every week and then goes home and cries because she's never had love like that and she doesn't love herself. Aaron knows he's supposed to be doing this for himself, but really he's doing it for his son. He's pushing his wife away. He's disgusted with himself so he doesn't want to be intimate with her. But he made himself a promise that he would always be there for his son, which rules out the possibility of divorce. He grew up without a father himself and he won't put his son through that. These two stories put everyone in tears.

Everyone's pretty focused during workout #2 and does good stuff. Elizabeth struggles again with her breathing but is determined to do it. Rick is happy to get a full workout this time.

Brendan, however, is the exception. He's having a hard time and ACTUALLY ASKS BOB IF THEY'RE ALMOST DONE. Mistaaaaaake! Thank heavens he said it to Bob instead of Jillian - Bob merely gave him a really hard time; Jillian would have destroyed him in retaliation. It's still rather torturous for Brendan, though. However, the viewing audience also gets some torture, in the form of a massive booger dripping out of Brendan's nose and into his mouth. Yummy. Thanks for that, I'm sure Brendan appreciated the humiliation also. I find it incongruous that you can't say the word "shit" on television, but shots of a massive, disgusting booger being eaten by a human being are considered okay. Bleargh.

DH: "Boy, Bob's taking his nasty pills this year."

Trainer tip: Jennie-O turkey rollups are magical!

Then, surprise gifties for the contestants arrive in cardboard boxes! There's a lot of suspense and buildup to what these presents could possibly be, and it turns out to be the favourite horrible foods that they talked about when they were in the kitchen. So we get to see Aaron's Terminator and Brendan's Gravedigger first-hand. (They look pretty gross.)

Brendan has an intense emotional reaction to the gift food. He can't believe he's done this to himself. He used to have a great body and a great girlfriend and threw it all away. He thinks about her all the time. It is sooo obvious that he's hoping she'll come back to him if he gets thin. (Of course that would be lovely and romantic if it happened, but unfortunately things don't always work out like that.) Bob tells him he can't live in the past, it's time to move forward, and he's capable of big things. Brendan has to try to forgive himself. Don't know if Brendan can do that right now, though.

Well hello, Ali! Aren't you looking pretty today! But of course your presence here can't possibly mean anything good...

Ali tells us this season is going to be a little different, and today, there's a challenge...which is a weigh-in. In two hours. Yeah. Seriously. They're all completely shellshocked. But I'm completely stoked - at last, RESULTS!!! Indeed, we can expect good ones, because it's been over two weeks since the contestants were first weighed in.

As promised in preview videos last week, the yellow line is moving up this week, and half the people will be below it. Mass freakouts ensue. The deal is that the eight players in the bottom half will all be in danger of elimination. Those eight players turn out to be Tina, Lisa, Patrick, Allie, Burgandy, Sophia, Jessica and Elizabeth. But there is a way out, Ali tells them. Firstly, Rick's the biggest loser of the week (I'm telling ya, never count out the old guys!), so he will be asked to save one player from that group of eight. There's also going to be a challenge, where only the people under the yellow line will compete. But one person will be voted out. Sophia's jazzed because she gets to fight for a spot back in.

The elimination challenge (at which Ali is wearing a really kicky jacket, I must say) is a footrace, with a flag hanging down at the finish line. The person who finishes first and grabs the flag will not be up for elimination. There will be five races, which means - once Rick saves his one person - that there will be two people up for elimination at the end of it all. So whom has Rick chosen? Well, he's spoken to everyone below the yellow line and has decided to save Patrick. DH is very unsurprised as it is clearly a Green team alliance thing. However, it does make all the women (except Ada, who was the only female above the yellow line) look weak, which I despise seeing.

I figure that the shoo-ins here are Burgandy and Jessica, and the people at the biggest disadvantage are Elizabeth and Tina. However, after Sophia wins the first race, Elizabeth actually wins the second race, which impresses the crap out of me! (I am finding myself frequently in admiration of Elizabeth, actually.) It's in that second race, though, that Jessica strays from her lane and elbows out Burgandy. Burgandy calls Jessica on this (fair, although Burgandy was not very nice about how she approached it), and Jessica is, well, kind of a bitch in response. Great. The next races are taken by Burgandy and Lisa (which surprised me), and finally, finally Jessica gets a fag. Tina is very discouraged at how her best efforts have not been enough.

So it's Tina vs. Allie. The oldest vs. the youngest.

This takes me back to the first elimination of Season 7, when it was Jerry (the oldest) vs. Daniel (the second-youngest). The voting might have gone either way, but then Ron spoke up and pointed out that Jerry had been thin once. He had a reference point in his head to go back to. But Daniel had never been thin, and he was young, with his whole life ahead of him, and he needed this chance more. We are in the same kind of situation here with Tina and Allie - Tina has been thin; Allie never, ever has. I firmly believe it should be Tina going home.

And yet, the votes do not go that way. This makes me pretty pissed off. I'm especially pissed off to hear that despite all the lip service Allie got from her mom about making a change, there was NO support for Allie's new lifestyle once she returned home. Seriously! :( Allie had told her mom that they absolutely had to get rid of the chocolate, but she walks in the front door and there's chocolate sitting right on the counter. So, no support for this poor girl at all. She then made a very smart decision and reached out to "her Biggest Loser family", enlisting the help of Season 8 winner Danny Cahill. As a result, she's down 60lbs (YAY!) and is now starting to speak with her mother again. I wish Allie all the best.

It also appears that the eliminated contestants from week one all got to go to the Biggest Loser Fitness Ridge resort, so that's nice.

Milestones achieved at the weigh-in:

  • Aaron dropped below 450lbs
  • Patrick, Adam and Mark dropped below 400lbs
  • Rick, Jesse, Frado and Brendan dropped below 350lbs
  • Lisa and Jessica dropped below 275lbs
  • Ada and Tina dropped below 250lbs
  • Burgandy dropped below 225lbs
  • Aaron, Mark, Brendan, Adam, Jesse, Frado and Rick hit the 25lb mark of total loss
  • Rick hit the 10% mark of total loss
  • Rick, Adam, Patrick and Mark moved from being super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Ada, Elizabeth and Tina moved from being morbidly obese to clinically obese

Next week: (SPOILERS)

Look for the following milestones: (I adjusted estimates downwards because we typically see low performances in second weigh-ins)

  • Mark could hit the 50lb mark of total loss
  • Patrick could hit the 25lb mark of total loss
  • Mark, Adam, Jesse and Brendan could hit the 10% mark of total loss
  • Sophia could move from being morbidly obese to clinically obese

And from TV Guide: Tennis pro Anna Kournikova leads a group workout before a surprise challenge. Elsewhere, a player's confession leads to tension in the house; bob singles out a contestant to gain respect; Jillian tries to nurture a pair's competitive streak; and those who fall below the yellow line must compete in an elimination challenge involving 175 tons of sand.

(Looks like the yellow line will be permanently placed around the halfway point and that we'll keep going with the elimination challenges. Interesting!)


# loss % lbs lost BMI
1 Rick (10.29) Mark (41) Burgandy (37.6)
2 Mark (9.74) Rick (36) Ada, Tina (38.7)
3 Brendan (8.56) Adam (34)
4 Adam (8.46) Brendan (31) Elizabeth (39.8)
5 Jesse (8.13) Aaron, Jesse (30) Sophia (40.4)
6 Frado (7.36) Lisa (41.4)
7 Ada (6.98) Frado (27) Jessica (42.0)
8 Aaron (6.41) Patrick (22) Brendan (44.9)
9 Tina (6.08) Ada (18) Frado (46.1)
10 Lisa (5.56) Allie (17) Rick (46.4)
11 Patrick (5.50) Lisa, Tina (16) Adam (47.2)
12 Allie (5.28) Mark (47.5)
13 Burgandy (5.19) Jessica, Sophia (14) Patrick (48.5)
14 Sophia (5.15) Allie (50.7)
15 Jessica (4.96) Elizabeth, Burgandy (12) Jesse (51.5)
16 Elizabeth (4.92) Aaron (53.3)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2010-09-21: And so it begins

So obesity is a serious problem in America. And The Biggest Loser is here to fix it. It's Season 10, and we're going around the country to gather up contestants. We're going to seven cities, and there will be three contestant hopefuls in each stop. We start in Detroit. Here, Bob puts a bunch of people - mostly obese - through their paces for a mass workout. Bob sees hope in the crowd as he tells us this season is about Paying It Forward. We won't actually see concrete examples of this theme in this week's show, but maybe things will pick up.

The first three people to meet are Jessie, Sophia and Aaron. Bob reflects that everyone in the crowd needs to be here, though. The show has brought back the humiliation/motivation of the very public weigh-in, and that's what the candidates have to do first.

Jesse is 27, a law clerk from Saint Paul, Minnesota, and weighs in at 369lbs. His mom was overweight, and his own weight is a fog that hangs over his life. He makes excuses not to go out.

Sophia's big goal is to wear a white dress without looking like a marshmallow. Her brother Edwin died in a car accident, hitting black ice and getting t-boned by a truck. Poor Sophia is clearly ripped up about this. Her brother's death shut her down. She's a counselor herself, but can't seem to work through this. She says a lot of admirable things after finding out she weighs 272lbs, and seems like a great person.

Aaron is married and has a three-year-old son. He's been trying forever to lose weight. His father was an alcoholic and Aaron picked up that addictive behaviour, but in the form of food instead of alcohol. He recognizes he's literally eating himself to death and needs the miracle that is being on The Biggest Loser ranch. At 468lbs, I have to agree with him.

Of course, getting on the ranch is never so simple. First, Ali announces, there will be a challenge, in which the three candidates will compete for two spots. Jesse immediately thinks he's toast. It's a step-up challenge, and the first two people to finish 500 step-ups get to go straight to the ranch.

Aaron busts it out right away to psyche Jesse and Sophia out, but can't sustain it and slows right down. Sophia takes the lead and stays there throughout, crying as she gets the first spot. To motivate her, she thought of what her brother used to say: "Do work, son. Do work." Her extremely young-looking mom claps in triumph. Jesse wants to quit but refuses to stop. He outpaces Aaron and feels great, delightfully surprised that he ended up having the strength. He and Sophia don orange shirts and head out, Sophia remarkign that maybe she could actually become skinny. Aaron has of course not made the ranch, but he takes a lesson from watching previous seasons of the show and refuses to quit. It takes him a while, but he gets to 500 step-ups. It's pretty touching. Sadly, though, he feels that he blew his opportunity. Bob has a heart-to-heart with him and says that he thinks Aaron is made of great stuff and knows Aaron can do it. They man-hug it out.

Onto the next stop, where we meet Adam, Ada and Montina.

Adam has been overweight for a long time, and lost his mother - a terrific and supportive lady - to an obesity-related heart attack. This has been devastating for him. His initial weight is 402lbs.

Ada is a first-generation American whose parents, not to put too fine a point on it, sound kind of evil. The family has gone through some awful tragedies - they lost one son to a drowning in a kiddie pool (Ada was there at the time) and one son to SIDS. They have blamed her for a lot of stuff - when she was in a car accident with her third brother in the car (she was driving), her dad yelled at her for trying to kill another of his sons. It's pretty clear that her parents have never made her feel like she could be successful, and as a result, Ada feels totally inadequate. It's also pretty clear, though, that Ada believes fixing her weight problem - she's 258lbs - will make her a success in her parents' eyes and thus solve everything. Boy, is she in for a surprise when she starts touching her deeper issues.

Montina is a backup singer. She has been pretty successful, even doing backup for Beyoncé. However, her 287lb weight makes her non-marketable in her business, and she doesn't want to be in the background anymore.

It's time for another step-up challenge. Adam sprints right off the mark and when he starts pacing himself, Ada takes the lead. She didn't want to be in second place because that runs the risk of slipping to third. Adam goes into a "deep place in his heart" and talks to his mom, asking her to help him. (Is it just me, or does everything Adam say come off as staged and insincere?) Montina's husband gives her encouragement, and she wants to respond, but her knee is hurting a lot and it's holding her back. Ada wins the challenge (which is great, the girl needs some successes under her belt), and Adam puts on a burst of speed to come in second. They get blue shirts and a limo ride on outta there. Montina goes home, but says she's going to work harder.

We are Ali-less at the next stop. Her hosting duties are taken over by Season 7 finalist Mike Morelli. He's put on a bit of weight over his freshman year at college, but still looks good. He introduces Corey, Burgandy, and Tina.

Burgandy is Super Mom. She's a military wife, has five kids - one of whom is autistic - and foster kids, too. She is too busy doing for others (ya think?) to do self-checks, and so she is overweight, to the tune of 231lbs. She's insecure and doesn't feel beautiful, so her relationship with her husband is suffering. Her goal for the ranch is to be ready to back home when it's time for her to leave.

Corey feels that he's letting his wife down with his 391lb weight problem and is angry with himself.

Holy cow, Tina's nipples could cut glass. She has 2 kids and grandkids. She was smokin' hot when she was younger. But her second husband cheated on her and she started gaining weight because she was upset with what was going on in her life. She is now 263lbs.

We're switching up the challenge a bit in this stop and will be doing a one-mile race. Burgandy manages to pass Corey and pulls further and further away. He feels, though, that he should be able to beat Tina because he's 30 years younger than she is, but she gets ahead of him. Refusing to be beaten, he catches up and passes her. Burgandy, however, is way out in front. She wants to get on the ranch because she believes she can't do it on her own. She believes this because she hasn't been doing it on her own. BUt she feels amazing and strong as she crosses the finish line. Meanwhile, Tina feels she's going to lose because Corey is ahead of her. She doesn't want to let herself down, so she pushes. Corey pushes back in response...and falls down 20 yards from the finish. He has apparently pushed himself beyond his limits because he genuinely can't get up. So Tina staggers into second place. This, naturally, is bittersweet for her, and she feels really sad because Corey was so close. (I would feel crappy in that position, too.) She and Burgandy get purple shirts and a free ride to the ranch. For his part, Corey feels awful. He hates that his body doesn't listen to him when he tells it what to do - not just for the one-mile race, but in general. He doesn't understand why his body won't listen when he tells it that something isn't good for it to eat. But on the bright side, this experience has him feel that there's no chance he won't succeed now. Bob uses Corey's body giving up on him as an object lesson, and encourages the crowd to change.

Ali returns to bring us to Atlanta. She tells us that nearly a third of the deaths in Georgia last year were linked to obesity. (Holy crap.) We meet one lady who was never able to get on the show, and lost a whopping 95lbs at home. Awesome! We then meet Patrick, Anna, and Rick, who get a big ol' stink-eye from Jillian.

Anna is 39, and her story is heartbreaking: she lost her 3-year-old son to cancer. We see pictures of this beautiful boy as she tells us that she was constantly there throughout his treatment. She fell asleep with him in her arms and when she woke up, he was gone. :( (Although, I have to say, that if your child is sick and dying, that is a beautiful way for him to go.) Now, Anna eats to drown her sorrow and doesn't take care of herself properly. As a result, she weighs 330lbs.

Rick is from Arkansas. He's been happily married for 32 years, and has 5 kids and 9 grandkids. He seems like an awful lot of fun, a real character. He wants to be around for his grandkids and knows that he hasn't modelled a healthy lifestyle for them. He wants to change that. He weighs 350lbs.

Patrick is a family man who weighs 400lbs. His kids are pretty young right now, and he wants to change before they really pick up on his unhealthy lifestyle. He is determined that this is it.

Time for another one-mile race. Rick is intimidated, as he hasn't run a mile in 25 years. However, he believes that a lot of this is heart, so hopefully his age disadvantage won't matter. Patrick just doesn't want to be last. Anna starts up pretty quickly with the drama and the moaning. Jillian tries all kind sof motivational techniques, but nothing works. This lady is absolutely determined to come up with excuses for not breaking out of her comfort zone. Unsurprisingly, the guys come in first and second and receive their green shirts while the drama llama is still wailing and gnashing her teeth in the back. But at least she finishes.

Did you know that obesity costs Arizona $1.5 billion dollars a year? (Again, holy crap.) Fortunately, Phoenix is up for the challenge of making a change. We meet Amy, who has lost almost a hundred pounds - way to go, her! Our three potential Losers here are Jessica, Mark, and Shanna. Also, it's really hot outside today.

Jessica - who bears a resemblance to Mary Murphy, I think - has always been The Big Girl. Her relationship with her mom became quite bad. Her mom said she wasn't going to find love because of the fat and then became physically abusive. So Jessica retaliated by eating. Wow. This girl has massive issues. This becomes even more obvious if you watch her interview videos on The Biggest Loser website - as part of her anti-mom retaliation, she became promiscuous in college, put herself in dangerous situations, and was sexually assaulted in her sophomore year. She weighs 282lbs.

Mark started getting bigger in high school because he was playing football, but then stopped working out in college, so his weight ballooned. Currently, the ballooning has hit the 421lb mark. His mom is overweight and has health problems and is miserable about it all. He knows how she feels, and wants to help her succeed.

At this point, my younger daughter cries out for help and I have to go miss some of the show. But I know we were introduced to Shanna, a breast cancer survivor who currently weighs 242lbs.

It's another one-mile run for these competitors. Mark's ready to go. Shanna's excited. Jessica is determined to be heading to the ranch. Shanna slows to a walk early and gets discouraged, but isn't ready to give up. Mark's got a good jog going and is absolutely determined to make the ranch, especially since his father is running the mile with him. Jessica doesn't want to let anybody catch her, and comes in first. She squeals girlishly with triumph. (Oh lord, the Mary Murphy resemblance goes beyond the face. Heaven help us all.) Mark's next as he sprints home. Shanna runs in, too, but is disappointed. She's still determined to do it at home, though. As Mark and Jessica get red shirts, Jessica reflects the Deep Symbolism of the fact that her father's name is Red, too. Bob then has a heart-to-heart twith Shanna and tells her she's a survivor. There's nothing she can't do. He tells her to take the power back whenever she feels things are too much.

As we go to commercial, Bob has a heart-to-heart with us, too. He tells us we can stay motivated and make changes at home, even without a gym. For example, plant a vegetable garden. This gives everyone a workout, saves you money on groceries, AND is good for the environment. What's not to love about this plan? Oh, but don't forget that when you're gardening, you need to drink lots of water. You know, filtered with a Brita water filter.

Yes, that would be our first product placement of the season. Arg. Brace yourself, there will be more. MANY more.

In Oklahoma City, we have Season 8 winner Danny Cahill filling in for Ali. He is resplendent in pink, which is awesome. The only downside is that he seems to have gotten a gut back. :( Although, I suppose it's possible that that's extra skin from all the weight loss, which is visible now because he's not wearing belly Spanx as he would have done at the finale? Anyhoo, he introduces Allie, Sandy, and Lisa.

Allie had lapband surgery as a teenager under pressure from her doctor...but she is still fat. She reflects that the surgery fixes your stomach, but not your thought. She talks about the complications from obesity that her mom is experiencing, and she doesn't want to go through that. She wants to break the cycle. She's very pretty. I can't wait to see what she looks like once she drops considerably from the 322lbs that she's at now.

Lisa's daughter suddenly lost her vision three months ago. Turns out, it happened because she was dehydrated. And she was dehydrated because she hadn't been eating or drinking. And she hadn't been eating or drinking because...she didn't want to be fat like her mom. Ouch. That's pretty devastating stuff. Lisa, who is 288lbs, reflects that if her children don't want to be like her, how can she raise them?

Sandy's brother tried out for the show, but 5 days later died in his sleep. She's doing this for him, herself and her family. She saw how devastated her kids were hearing that their uncle died; what if, she reflects, they heard that she had died? She has too much to live for. She is 259lbs.

So we have another step-up challenge. Lisa starts out slowly but Allie looks pretty fast. And indeed, Allie reaches all the milestones first and wins. Lisa, highly motivated by her daughter who almost killed herself trying to be fat, comes in second. Sandy wants to quit, but is determined to finish for her brother. And, like her brother, she isn't afraid to tell the world she's going to do it; she is determined to be healthy. Bob reminds us that pink is a colour which always kicks ass on the Biggest Loser ranch as Allie and Lisa get their shirts.

The last stop is Boston, where one viewer has lost 107lbs so far. I love these profiles of people who turned it around by themselves! Filling in for Ali today is Mark Kruger from Season 5. He still looks amazing, I have to say; good for him. He introduces Frado, Elizabeth, and Brandon.

Brendan has a very hairy back, but more relevantly, has always been fat. He lost a lot of weight as a kid, but after that, his weight yoyoed unbelievably. He is currently sitting at 362lbs. He was engaged to the love of his life, but broke it off because he didn't love himself. Okay, that's very sad. :(

Elizabeth used to be slender and happy. But her marriage was verbally and physically abusive. She felt ugly and her self-esteem was destroyed. Accordingly, she gained about 90lbs. She's now divorced, but at 244lbs, she doesn't even recognize herself, and wants to make a change.

Frado is as New York as you can possibly get. :) His health is not good - he's a Type II diabetic and is on a LOT of medication plus insulin. His doctor has said he'll be dead within five years if he doesn't lose the weight. 367lbs is a far cry from the ripped Marine Corps dude he was in his youth. He's married with three kids and has been very successful in his career, but that just gives him more excuses to "celebrate". (Translation: Eat lots.) His wife seems to be in denial, too, telling him that as long as he's bringing home a good paycheque, his chub is okay.

It's another step-up challenge, and Brendan is the first to the 50-step milestone. He has some kind of tattoo on his arm that talks about self-respect, and uses that to motivate him. Unfortunately, Elizabeth is not so successful, as she has an asthma attack partway through the challenge. She really tries to stay in there, but come on, it's a freakin' asthma attack! Jillian earns my enmity by actually trying to push her THROUGH it. Poor Elizabeth. Fortunately, the EMTs override Jillian's authority and give Elizabeth some TLC while Brendan and Frado cruise to victory. Elizabeth does not take the loss well. She feels like she's failed and like her life is over. Frado feels for her and gives her hugs and encouragement. Also, the show makes her go to the hospital even though she doesn't really want to (good for the damn show), while they give Frado and Brendan their black shirts.

And now that we've got all our contestants, you'd think we're headed for the ranch, right? Yeah, wrong. This whole cross-America 7-city tour has taken up our entire two-hour time slot, and all we've got time for is a quick preview of the upcoming season before we fade to the medical warning.

The first thing we're told is that the seven rejected candidates from the cross-country tour are going to get a chance to get back on the show somehow. Various shots show us that a yellow team is coming, which means that two of the seven are coming back in. We can tell from all these clips that this yellow team is going to be Aaron and Elizabeth, which means sayonara for Anna, Corey, Montina, Sandy and least for now. (Never rule out unexpected plot twists on The Biggest Loser.) Another preview video available at The Biggest Loser website shows a wide shot of multiple contestants showing all eight colours. This must mean that Aaron and Elizabeth get to come onto the ranch right at the outset.

Another thing we see in the quick preview before the end of the episode is Ali announcing a weigh-in where the yellow line is moved up, to the halfway point, meaning that half the people are going to fall below the yellow line. Close examination of this part of the clip shows that the number of spots on the board when the line is moving up is 16, which means this half-below-the-yellow-line weigh-in must take place at the end of the very first week. This may sound crazy, but remember that at no time does Ali say that the people who fall below the yellow line are going home. Perhaps they're in for something else undesirable...

...Like training with the Marine Corps, perchance? That's the next thing we see in the preview clip: training with Marines. I should have counted the number of losers shown on the screen training with the Marines, but I suspect that what is happening is that they're splitting up the teams - the half above the yellow line stay on the ranch, and the half below the yellow line have to go off with the Marines and train with them for who knows how long. This is very similar to the sort of thing they do on The Biggest Loser Australia, where every now and then people are sent off to train with The Commando, an Australian drill sergeant army-type dude who is set up to be this big brutal and scary thing.

Other things we can look forward to:

  • Patrick is told he has the arteries of a 65-year-old man.
  • Jillian psychoanalyses Ada.
  • Lisa gets a big dose of Bob telling her she's wonderful.
  • Rick gets a video from home.
  • Huge success on the scale for Mark. (A close-up of the shot reveals a tantalising glimpse of the leaderboard behind him: Ada in 3rd, Sophia in 4th, an unreadable name in 5th, Tina in 6th, and Aaron in 7th, with the yellow line immediately below Aaron.)
  • Sweat in the gym.

None of this, however, makes up for the disappointment that I felt in not seeing any weigh-in results this episode. I live for results, people! My spreadsheet has been denied! I had better start seeing some freakin' numbers next week, I tell you!