Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Biggest Loser Review, 2010/01/05 (Season 9 premiere)

Do you have what it takes? Do you have the guts?

As advertised, this season's journey starts with a public weigh-in in the contestants' home towns. Which has gotta be embarrassing, and indeed, they all interview that yes, it is. And just to be extra-cruel, they make the camera shiggle with each step that Michael takes as he walks up to the scale.

Cue Bob and Jillian with a little peek at what we're in for this season.

Then, all around America, contestants are getting calls from Bob and Jillian telling them they're on the show and causing them to lose their ever-lovin' minds. (DH: "The fact that there's a FILM CREW in your house? Should be a clue!") Bob and Jillian also reveal which teams everyone's on - Ashley and Sherry are totally stoked because they're told they're on the Pink team, which has historically never failed to produce some kind of winner. They then all get the bad news about their weigh-ins. There's a lot of freaking out.

Cue the weigh-ins. The Orange team, with son Daris and mom Cheryl, is from Ardmore, Oklahoma, and they are weighing in in front of a massive crowd at Daris's old high school. John and James, identical twin brothers from Florida, get the mayor of Orlando at their weigh-in. However, things are not exactly fair and balanced around the country since Purple only has to weigh in in their back yard in front of a small amount of people.

(DH: "Why do they have to go through the public humiliation? Trying to force everybody to rock bottom, I suppose.")

Daris holds back tears as he announces his starting weight of 346lbs and his goal of losing about 155lbs. He promises to make everybody proud. Cheryl blames herself. She's 227lbs.

Patti from Purple is 243lbs and her daughter Stephanie is 264lbs.

John is 484lbs and his mother's jaw drops. James is practically the same, at 485lbs, and his wife is quite upset.

Knoxville, Tennesee is home to the pink team, mother Sherry and daughter Ashley. Sherry's husband (Ashley's father) died eleven years ago and she drowned herself in food. Ashley says her dad always wanted her to be healthy. She is wearing the stupidest headband ever as she interviews this. Also, she's 374lbs, and her mom is 218lbs.

Onto the black team: daughter Andrea is 298lbs, father Darrell is 413lbs.

In Houston, TX, we have the Blue team: mother Cherita and daughter Victoria. Cherita is a breast cancer survivor, so this is not the first time she has made the decision to live. She's 277lbs, and Victoria is 358lbs.

In Pemberton, New Jersey, we have the Green team. They are Puerto Rican, and also get to weigh in in someone's back yard. Daughter Migdalia is 265lbs and mother Miggy is 240lbs.

In Aspermont, Texas, husband and wife Lance and Melissa are the Red team. They interview that they're struggling, apparently as a couple as well as with their weight. He's 365lbs, she's 233lbs.

In Rohnert Park, California, we have the Grey team, Tongan cousins Koli and Sam. They weigh in on a football field, which makes sense since they're football coaches. They have been inspired big-time by the Tongan cousin team of Season 7, Sione and Filipe. Koli is 403lbs, Sam is 372lbs. Koli vows to do better than Sione and Filipe.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, we have the Yellow team. Father O'Neal is a postal worker with the longest tie I have ever seen. He is also totally embarrassed about his size, especially since he used to be very muscular and hot when he was young. His wife has to help him put on his shoes and socks every day. His daughter Sunshine has never been on a date or kissed a boy, and this hurts her. She's not really happy, and her dad wants her to have happiness. She starts at 275lbs, which makes her cry. Her dad, complete with Jesus tattoo, is 389lbs.

(DH: "I want ALL of these people to make it to the finale.")

But the worst is yet to come. In Chicago, Illinois, we have the Italian son and mother team, Michael and Maria. Their whole family is overweight. She's 281lbs and feels responsible for her son's weight. Michael wants to fall in love, get married and have kids, but doesn't feel that'll happen until he loves himself. He is a record-breaking 526lbs. His parents get all teary when his weight is revealed, and he points out in an interview the very discouraging fact that even if he loses another overweight person, he's still going to be overweight. But he has to start somewhere, and he does want to live, so here we go, over the mountains and onto the ranch!

And why save the enviornment by transporting everyone in one bus when you can destroy the environment by using one limo per team? However, everyone is beyond excited to be there. Their first sight of Ali is what seems to hit it home that they're really there. Michael picks Ali right up, to great applause from everyone else. Lance waxes poetic, whilst sitting right next to his wife, about how hot Ali is, as we get a bit of a wind-blown shot with Ali waving her hair around. (I'm surprised they didn't feather the edges of the shot and make the hair flip go in slow motion. Geez.)

Everybody follows Ali up to the ranch and into the gym...which is empty. This confuses people. There are, however, circular mats with team colours on the floor. Ali tells everyone to find their team's mat and stand on it, because it's time for a surprise: this week's challenge! And suddenly, a bunch of stationary bikes are revealed. The challenge is for the teams to cover 26.2 miles (a marathon) together on the bikes. General looks of utter gobsmackedness ensue. The grand prize for the first place team is immunity. The next eight teams get to stay in the house. The two teams that come last will be asked to leave the campus immediately. (DH: "Ouch!") However, DH and I are both thinking that the two ousted teams will probably get some kind of chance to come back.

As we begin, Ali ups the tension level by telling us that this is the sickest group of contestants the show has ever had. So the medical staff is right there, having apparently learned a lesson from last season about making fat people overwork themselves in the first hour of shooting. And the sweat starts pouring. Green and Grey lead the pack. Sam interviews that he's amazed at Miggy's pace, and Grey figures that when she poops out, they'll take the lead and cruise into immunity. However, Green hits the halfway point of the race first, and just keeps the hell on going. Grey seems to have vastly underrated them. And indeed, the Migs appear to be worthy of Season 7's Tara's colours, as they push through to a victory. (Kick ASS, ladies! YES!) WOW. (DH: "These two are hardcore!") Grey comes in second close behind them. Sam is absolutely drenched in sweat.

Meanwhile, Michael is in major pain, since he's a massive person sitting on a really tiny seat. (I myself despise bicycle seats for their utter lack of comfort, so I can't begin to imagine the pain he was going through there.) Black comes in third, and Yellow starts despairing about their ability to stay in this thing. Orange is fourth, with Yellow and Blue still bringing up the rear. And even worse for the Blue team, Cherita is struggling. She interviews that even though she's had two children, she's never had pain like that. She is very determined to keep going, but she buckles right before the commercial break. Also before the break, we learn that one person will be going home after this week's weigh-in.

When we return, Cherita is forced off the treadmill by Dr. H. and a random medic. She ain't happy about this and sobs desperately. Victoria, good on 'er, keeps going as other teams finish: Pink, Red, White (to Michael's great joy and amazement), and Brown. There's only one more spot left, and Purple takes it. Yellow and Blue are out. Victoria assures her mother that she's proud of her. Yellow, however, can't find the silver lining so easily - Sunshine is devastated and O'Neal feels awful. Nobody else is happy to see two teams go, either, they're all bummed. Nobody has to be sad, though, because after Yellow and Blue get into their separate limos (again with the gas-guzzling!), Bob and Jillian leap out onto the road and get the drivers to stop the cars before they are crushed to death by the oncoming vehicles. (Yes, this show is all about extending your life expectancy, people. Jump into oncoming traffic, I say. Gets the heart muscles pumping.)

Before we go to commercial break, we get tips from Bob and Jillian about working out as a twosome. Jillian VERY clearly had a bad-ass headcold during the taping of this.

Back to the two not-quite-yet-departing limos. "Where are you guys going?" asks Bob. He and Jillian reveal that it is not over for Blue and Yellow. The two teams are going home for 30 days before facing off against the team that's in the other limo, and they'll have Bob and Jillian to help them.

Okay, so bright and squirrelly on Day One, Bob and Jillian sneak into the house and pull the fire alarm. (Bastards.) Nobody knows what's going on when the siren starts wailing, but they all eventually start filing out of the house. They're pretty excited to see who's waiting for them on the lawn. Bob and Jillian lament to us that people get bigger and bigger every season. (Blame the producers, you idiots, I'm sure you've met a few of them.) But to hell with the obesity problems of America, the TRAINERS ARE HERE! Michael picks Jillian waaaay up off the ground. However, the euphoria doesn't last very long. Maria sums it up well: "Pain will begin now."

They barely get started on the first workout before the puking begins, both for the contestants in the gym and the audience at home, because it's our first Painful Product Placement: Jillian plugs Brita water filters while stressing the importance of rehydration. She extols the environmental virtues of the filters, too, which is pretty hypocritical, given all the limos they use on this show. Jillian - who's wearing way too much makeup today - then starts psychoanalyzing Cheryl, whom she sees as the typical mom who puts everyone but herself first. Jillian, however, sees something powerful under the meek, and screams at Cheryl, encouraging her to scream back at her, which Cheryl does...and how! Daris looks amazed and amused at his mom's badassery. "Somebody wound up that momma!" exclaims Bob, obviously impressed.

Now that everyone's exhausted beyond all reason, it's time to get to know one another. Sob stories are shared. Daris reflects that the stories were different, but the same. (Gawd, that's deep.) Stephanie has never been in love, while Daris has never ever had a girlfriend. He's the "entertainer" who always goes home alone. Migdalia is at the ranch instead of spending her last few days with her husband, who's being shipped off to Afghanistan. (That is harsh.) She's scared that if anything happens to her husband over there, the kids won't have her either, I guess because of her health. Maria doesn't wat to turn into her mother, who had to stay at home and be taken care of by others because she was so big. Koli's been overweight most of his life (the Brown team twins nod). He recalls Filipe's makeover from Season 7, when his wife showed up. Koli wants the love that Filipe so obviously has with his wife, but doesn't seriously believe anyone could love a 400lb man and has always pushed girlfriends away. I like him a lot.

Last chance workout! People look wiped. Bob pushes the Body Bugg like there's no tomrrow. Melissa's freaking out because two teams are already gone. Bob has to snap at Koli to get him to keep running on the treadmill. Sam's really into it, though. Jillian, meanwhile, has a lot of the ladies outside. She screams at them to become warriors and inspire the nation. She is displeased that she is not hearing any tortured noises from her victims. Black team struggles. Bob yells at Andrea and confesses to us that he's a sadist. Jillian tells the audience that we don't want to end up at the ranch.

But when everyone else limps away, the last chance workout is not over for the twins. Bob tells them they have to walk in the pool, all around the outside. They feel disadvantaged because they're physically limited. James has a bad knee from a football injury in high school. Bob tells him it's okay to be pissed off and to use that. (DH: "I'm reminded of Ron Morelli, who used that pool to good advantage.")

Weigh-in. Ali commends them for their courage and reminds them that they all made promises to change their lives. She rubs salt in the wound by telling Michael that he's the only person to weigh in at over 500lbs ever on the show. She asks him how he feels, and he says he's pretty happy that he's been able to do stuff this week that he hasn't done in years. The twins are also given some air time, as they're the heaviest team the show has ever had. Ali says, however, that it's not enough to tell people you want to be have to prove it. So, on to proving it.

Tonight, teams - as usual for this stage of a couples game - will be judged on team percentages. One team will fall below the yellow line, and then everyone else will vote on which person from that team gets sent home. The results are all really excellent:

  • Cheryl, Patti and Melissa go below 225lbs
  • Migdalia and Stephanie go below 250lbs
  • Maria goes below 275lbs
  • Lance goes below 350lbs
  • Darrell and Koli go below 400lbs
  • Michael goes below 500lbs
  • Ashley, Cheryl, Daris, Darrell, Koli, Lance, Melissa, Michael, Migdalia, Miggy, Patti, Sherry and Stephanie all hit 5%
  • Ashley gets her BMI under 60
  • Koli moves from super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Patti, Stephanie and Sherry go from morbidly obese to clinically obese
  • Melissa and Miggy go from clinically obese to obese

Biggest loser of the week: Patti! With almost TEN FREAKING PERCENT!!!

But in the end, it's Brown below the yellow line and everybody has to decide which of two identical twins, who both really need to be here, goes home. That socks ROCKS. My first thought was that I would send home James, because he doesn't have any children, whereas John has one child, on the theory that the person with children who shouldn't lose their parent to obesity-related death should stay at the ranch as long as possible. However, John thinks James can't do it at home because of how bad his knee is. James, meanwhile, thinks John should stay because he's more competitive, plus, James can take a lot of time off work and do it better at home. So everyone's pretty torn.

In the voting room, it's not unanimous, but mostly, people seem to be concerned that John doesn't have as good a support system at home, so they want to keep him at the ranch for his own good. That's nice. James says he's learned a lot in his short time at the ranch and that he will still change his life, just at home. He vows to be the more handsome, skinnier twin. :) In his at-home profile, he has lost exactly one hundred pounds, which is AWESOME. The gym has become his work. He and his wife cook and eat at home, instead of going out for every meal. As they prepare food, they play the "no, you're more beautiful" game and nauseate the entire continent. :) His wife says that James is very motivating, and she's lost 24lbs herself. James swims, James bikes, it's all good. He wants to lose at least 240lbs total by the finale.

Great quotes:

  • Migdalia, on Jillian: "She's gonna kick our ass!"
  • Melissa, after being told about the public weigh-in: "Can I have that salad, please?"


Next week: The contestants receive medical evaluations from Dr. Huizenga, who gives each team a task to illustrate the effects of their poor health. Later, the players compete in a balance challenge over a pool and Jillian urges a contestant to confront her fears.

Also, in the next four weeks, according to the shots of all the contestants who are present for the trip to the USA Olympics training facility in this video, we will say goodbye to John of the Brown team, Patti of the Purple team, Migdalia of the Green team, and Maria of the White team. As well, Yellow will beat Blue in the face-off and return to the ranch.

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