Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Biggest Loser Review, 2010/01/12

We start with a reminder of last week's results: John ruminating on how he has just lost his identical twin brother James from the competition. We get sad shots of John alone in his bedroom, John alone at the breakfast table, John walking alone on the ranch grounds. Okay, he's alone, we get it, good grief.

Cut to workout time, with Jillian perched on top of one of the weight machines like the freakin' Lion King overlooking his domain. There's a theme this week, and that is: The Curse. The curse of Week 2, where the Week 1 lovefest with the scale comes to a grinding, screeching halt and is replaced by extremely pathetic losses and sometimes even gains. This means that all the contestants are in for a rough time with the trainers, especially Ashley, who gets yelled at by Jillian for putting her hands on the treadmill rails. There are many grunts. Bob tells us that the intensity has to continue from Week 1. Cut to Migdalia screaming about how much she hurts. (Great line from Bob: "Like I don't know it hurts.") After hearing that Jillian and Bob like to "alley-oop" (one of them sets someone up, the other one smashes them), Bob takes on Michael, who is forced to do a lot of awful grunting noises. Michael confesses to Bob that he had no idea that he was 526lbs (he says 527, but we know what he means), and that his life is going nowhere. Bob tells him that this is the time to take care of himself, and that he will be Michael's cheerleader. In response, the big guy plants a huge kiss on Bob's cheek.

Other contestants have to hold weights above their heads on the treadmill while Jillian focuses on John. She wants to get inside his head, and starts this process by telling him that he sucks at taking a sledgehammer to a tire. (Fortunately for John, though, you don't have to utilize this skill very often in the outside world.) She beats him to break down his walls, as she always does with these people. At last, the breakthrough: John says he uses food for comfort because people around him keep dying, and he thinks he's cursed. He's lost his dad, his grandma, his, that sucks. Jillian grabs him by the shirt collar, looks intensely into his eyes and tells him that anything is possible...if you BELIEVE it's possible. Jeebus, is Kapra directing this show? We see clips of John's baby boy, who is really cute.

As if the Curse wasn't bad enough, Dr. H shows up to deliver horrible news. Once again we are faced with the most unhealthy group of players ever in the show's history. The goal here, he says, is to scare the shit out of you...I mean, to turn things around before something irreversible happens. Patti is indeed scared. She was told she had diabetes 20 years ago and has known all along that it was reversible, but has been in denial. Dr. H. hopes to annihilate all the denial by handing out medical test results. Everybody goes to their rooms to have some privacy while they read them. But it turns out that these aren't medical test results at all, but rather invitations to come and see visual demonstrations of one salient aspect of the test results.

Michael and Maria get to see what happens when Bob loads on the 303lbs of extra fat which Michael is carrying around. At just 200lbs on him, Bob is struggling and can't shut up about how miserable he's feeling. He moves around like an old man and starts whining about his hips. I seriously expect him at any moment to start yelling at people to get off his lawn. Bob reflects that this is not a life to live, this is a burden to carry. I think Bob might be more motivated to help Michael than Michael is.

Patti and Stephanie get to see a video of Dr. H. visiting their home and talking to Patti's husband/Stephanie's dad and Patti's other daughter/Stephanie's sister. Dr. H. talks to Dad-and-Sister about how bad Patti's and Stephanie's health is. (I have a moment of wondering how ethical it is for him to share medical information about his patients with other people until I realise that their medical information is being shared on NATIONAL TELEVISION. So they must have signed some kind of release.) Sister begs Patti and Stephanie to stop self-destructing. Dr. H. twists the knife even further by asking Dad how it would feel if Stephanie died from something she could prevent. There's a loaded question if ever I saw one. Dad starts crying, which of course turns on Patti's and Stephanie's waterworks. Excellent! Guilt as a weight-loss tool!

Lance and Melissa learn about how obesity is costing them serious coin. For starters, it's cost Lance his job as a commercial diver, which apparently brought in the bucks. Losing that income has been hard for their family financially. And Melissa says that the refusal to address the weight thing is also costing them their marriage. Lance fortunately interviews that the ranch seems to be bringing them together, though. That's good. Dr. H. brings in a Biggest Loser-branded armoured truck filled with three million dollars in cash, which is apparently what obesity will cost them over their lifetimes. This, unsurprisingly, makes a big impression.

Daris and Cheryl go to the kitchen to see all the food they eat in a day spread out on the counter. There's a lot of crap there. Jillian's with them to analyse the nutritional value of the crap and also to eat one of their meals. Jillian really overdoes it with the noises of disgust, while she explains that this is not even food, it's chemicals, it's processed. We even get the patented Jillian Lip Curl(TM) as she picks stuff apart with the very tips of her fingers to avoid touching it as much as possible. Cheryl says she ate this stuff because it was convenient. "How convenient is heart disease?" shoots back Jillian. Daris says he ate all day because he was always hungry. Finally Jillian's had enough of trying to scarf down nachos and spits it out into the garbage can. Cheryl testifies to the importance of packing snacks and preparing food ahead of time instead of going for fast food. Bets on whether Taco Bell will be suing this show in the near future?

Challenge! In the pool. Maria instantly knows she's in trouble, because she's afraid of water. (Really? Afraid of something which comprises over 70% of your body?) Ali tells them they are in for a balance challenge. Each team has a balance beam three inches wide and 40ft long running across the water. There are beach balls in team colours on the other side. Each team needs to cross the balance beam as a team, grab a ball and bring it back. If you fall in the drink on your way over, you have to go back to the beginning and start again. So clearly, the folks at the Challenge Department (I kid you not, there really is a Challenge Department, Ali tweeted about it) have all been taking an extended vacation, because this is almost an exact copy of one of the challenges from Australia Biggest Loser Season 4. Lame. However, the race is to get all ten of your balls back from the other side of the pool as quickly as possible. The winner gets immunity; the loser gets a two-pound penalty at the weigh-in.

Patti interviews that she's screwed, because her diabetes has actually numbed her up to the ankle and her balance, therefore, is for crap. Maria interviews that she is terrified. And indeed, there's a lot of whining and freaking out from her as the challenge goes on, despite the fact that they're all wearing floatation devices. She has a panic attack. My gawd, what does this woman do when she needs to take a bath? Lance is doing very well, but Melissa keeps messing up. Drea of the Black team gives everyone a good run for their money, but Red juuust edges them out. They're very excited. I think they make a good team. After that, it's Orange, Pink, Green, Grey and Purple (Patti goes nuts in celebration). Maria, however, is so scared that she panics (again), makes an unnecessary jump, and falls down, smashing up her face. Her nose is bleeding copiously as we go to commercial. It is at this point that my toddler begins a 6.5-hour barf-a-thon which pretty much takes out my plans for the evening. Fortunately, the VCR continued to tape.

Maria moans and groans and bleeds profusely and I have very little sympathy - this never would have happened if she hadn't worked her own damn self up so much that she panicked. She is rushed to hospital in an ambulance. Needless to say, she and Michael now have the two-pound disadvantage.

DH: It's raining!

When Maria returns, she feels like something's run over her. She has a black eye and a fractured finger. She feels very bad about having earned a two-pound penalty for her son. Michael - with the worst hair EVER, what the HELL is up with that? - tells Bob what happened at the challenge. Bob takes issue with Michael's instinct to take care of his mom. The hell? Apparently, Michael was supposed to ignore the fact that his mom was bleeding all over the place and just go ahead and finish the challenge? Not sure what Bob is driving at here, but he does at least tell Michael that self-esteem and working on himself are going to be key themes for his journey here.

Jillian confronts Maria about her fears, and tells her that she has a real "I'm fragile, I'm weak" thing going on, and that she's MAKING the bad stuff happen; it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. I wave my "Go, Jillian" flag, because she couldn't be more right about Maria. It continues to rain, so Jillian takes Maria out to the pool in the middle of it. They're both fully clothed, but in they go anyway. We get more crying and carrying-on from Maria, but she eventually uses a noodle to float around. Jillian teaches her how to dog paddle, which seems to be enough to cure Maria of her lifelong fear. It's a miracle. Jillian raves about how great her job is.

Gum is great! Bob extols the virtues of the "chewing sensation".

Time for Dr. H. to scare more people. Andrea gets a 3-D rendering of how fat she is. Darrell, meanwhile, is the sickest guy on campus. Diabetes, reflux, asthma, etc. etc. - basically, we're lucky he doesn't drop dead right there in the office. Darrell can't believe he let himself get to this point. Apparently he sits back and lets things happen.

For Michael and Maria, Dr. H. pulls out his Star Trek-like electronic writing pad to help him chew out Maria for sitting on the couch. (She is just not having a good week.) Maria has a one in three chance of developing diabetes in the next 5 years. We also get to see an outline of Michael's skeleton surrounded by loads of fat. His lungs are clearly way too teeny to provide enough oxygen for his body. This appears to be a good wakeup call.

Cheryl's inner age is 75. Considering that her chronological age is 51, this is pretty heartbreaking news. Half of the problem is smoking, half of the problem is obesity. Apparently somking plus obesity is "the most evil duo in medicine". Daris seems to be reading from cue cards as he tells his mom she has to stop smoking and being fat. Cue the hug. I think I like this team, but the way Daris talks is so contrived I can't stand it. Gawd help us when he starts helping the trainers do the product placements.

Koli and Sam get to see how much they toss and turn at night. Yeah, that just doesn't look restful. Furthermore, Koli's 22-inch neck is choking his air supply. Koli has never associated his breathing issues with his obesity, but now he's clued in. Also, he really wants to have kids. (I must admit that it's lovely to see so many men defining "success in life" as falling in love, getting married, and having kids.)

Ashley is 27, but her body's inner age is 57. She has almost 260 extra pounds of hydrated fat, and her body can't handle it. They also found she's diabetic. Ashley and Sherry cry while Dr. H. works so hard to look compassionate that I start to wonder if I'm actually watching an episode of General Hospital. Fortunately, this stuff is reversible if Ashley actually gets her butt in gear. Right now though, she's in shock.

Last chance workout! Obsessive need to beat The Curse! Screaming! Grunting! Evil gleam in Jillian's eye! Michael is behind the 8-ball and is particularly determined. Melissa, with immunity, talks about sabotaging herself so she can do really well in Week 3. Darrell describes last chance workout as torture and assures us that what we see on tv is nothing compared to what they really do. Ashley gets whipped, too.

Quiz time: Snacking inhibits weight loss, true or false?
Answer: True. Snacking leads to unconscious excess caloric intake.
This has been your educational minute. At least they didn't plug Biggest Loser Designer Whey simultaneously.

Weigh-in milestones:

  • Ashley, John, Lance, Sam and Patti hit 25lbs of total weight loss
  • Ashley and Sam drop below 350lbs
  • Miggy drops below 225lbs
  • Sherry drops below 200lbs
  • Andrea, Sam, Maria and John hit the 5% mark of total weight loss
  • Daris, Sherry and Patti hit the 10% mark of total weight loss

Considering this is Week 2, we see a lot of really excellent results. Michael even throws down that he will beat Rudy's record from last season of 100lbs lost in seven weeks. Melissa's plan of self-sabotage also comes to fruition, and she is the only person to gain. Bob calls her out on her gameplay, and she basically admits it. But ultimately, it's Purple below the yellow line. Despite being the biggest loser at this point (11.11% lost), Patti throws herself in front of the bus for her daughter. Everyone respects her wishes and sends her home.

At home, Patti weighs 200lbs and wow, she looks awesome! And she runs a 5K! Dr. H. returns and tells her that of the nine medications she was on, she's down to what looks like two. Everything is much better. I can't get over how beautiful her face looks! Yay!

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