Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Biggest Loser Review, 2010/01/26: Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

As always, we must play sad music and show meaningful shots of the Biggest Loser house and grounds from various angles, in order to put us all in a somber mood. Because it's time to relive the sadness of losing Maria. Her son Michael is obviously bummed, but we instantly have people telling him to work harder. This pisses him off. John vows to give him the boot if Michael doesn't start appreciating the wondrousness that is the opportunity to be on the Biggest Loser show. In an interview, Michael scolds everyone for how childish they're being by watching him like a hawk to see if he shows commitment. I think he sounds bitter, defensive, and fairly childish himself.

And more bad news - Ali shows up. It's time for a pop challenge. For the first time ever, immunity is on offer as a prize in a pop challenge. Ali calls it "ultimate power". She then quotes from Spiderman, because some kind of responsibility comes with the prize: three envelopes with the Biggest Loser logo. These contain some kind of "responsibility" that Ali won't tell anyone anything about until the challenge is over.

And what is the challenge? Teams have to run the "presidential mile" (circuit of the grounds). Partway through, they will reach a board with a bunch of cards on it. The team has to then pick a card and continue running the circuit back around to the starting point. Here, they must swipe the card in a machine that looks a lot like a white label ABM. The machine then somehow reads the card, and displays either a red X (with accompanying 'you lose' buzz sound) or a green checkmark (with accompanying happy ping noise). A checkmark means you get one point. First team to three points wins.

Red is the first team to get a point, on lap number one. Black also lucks out on their first try. Michael, however, is frustrated because he can't go as fast as everyone else. But he points out that luck has a lot to do with this game (although he seems to have very little, as he doesn't get his first point until his fifth try). And to his credit, he looks super-determined as he power-walks along. Green do a lot of running. Pink is the first to get two points, which freaks Melissa out. Poor Stephanie has the worst luck EVER. She keeps lapping people, but is the only person with zero points, after eight...nine...ten freakin' tries! So unfair. She interviews that a strong competitor has perseverance. Her tenacity in the face of a crappy situation is pretty awesome. Meanwhile, however, more teams start getting two points. Red finally wins it, which means we're in for yet another week of Melissa screwing with her weight loss. Yes, that is THREE WEEKS IN A ROW that Melissa's weight doesn't matter. Wow.

So what's in the envelopes? Decisions, apparently. The first envelope has a card which reads "no access to the gym". The second is "no elimination vote", and the third is "two pound disadvantage". Naturally, Red has to assign each card to a team (and they can give more than one card to a single team, if they want), and they have just 15 minutes to decide. I think that completely sucks, and it's pretty clear that Red thinks so, too - Lance is bummed. He interviews that they'd rather give up his immunity than deal with this crap. They ponder whether to gameplay or just try to make everybody as happy as possible.

John gets the no-gym card because most of his stuff is done in the pool anyway. Very fair, and John evidently thinks so, too. Red goes with Michael for no vote, because they don't want him venting any lingering resentment at the elimination this week. This makes a great deal of sense. Michael acknowledges in an interview that they are right...although he wouldn't admit it to their faces. :) Green gets the 2lb disadvantage and they are supremely pissed off. Turns out that there is no love lost between Red and Green. "We're not friends," Miggy tells us, and backs this statement up by declaring that if she'd won, she would have put all three cards on the Red team. DH: "Those two have a huge chip on their shoulders." Red interviews that they gave Green the disadvantage because they thought Green was due for a super week, so they had the best chance of anyone to overcome the disadvantage. I dunno, I totally think Melissa is lying about not throwing the weigh-ins, but I'm willing to take Red's reasoning here at pretty much face value, for now. Green, of course, doesn't believe a word of it.

Video extra: Miggy asks advice from Jillian because she's exhausted and doesn't think she can pull out the numbers. She actually cries. Jillian calls her "Killer" and gets her to beat up a punching bag. Miggy eats it up.

Bob and Jillian then show up to work everyone out, and get some serious freak on when they fail to see John in the group. But the players talk them down pretty quickly - John's just in the pool, because he can't use the gym. The pop challenge and subsequent fallout is explained. Jillian is really annoyed that Red has immunity...again, and gives the "oh shit" look when she realises how pissed off Green is...again.

But screw all the new drama, there's old drama to cover! Bob has to clear the air about the weigh-in from last week where he, Melissa and Jillian had a huge-ass fight. Melissa interviews that Bob INSULTED her, and that she holds grudges forever. (Great attitude.) She then yells and cries about having her ethics questioned. Bob interviews that he's 99% sure she threw the weigh-in, but it's that 1% that enables him to say, "Fine, let's move on." Lance tells Bob he lost respect for him, but admits that it does take a real man to talk about the situation openly. So Bob and Red are cautiously okay. However, Bob interviews that Jillian is going to have a much harder time moving on. (No shit!)

After some working out, everybody goes outside to do lunges except for Lance, who has a bad knee. He is assigned to take out his anger at Jillian by...boxing with Jillian! Hooray. However, they have a chat first. Jillian, as predicted, is absolutely sure Melissa threw the weigh-in and is not budging from her position at all. This equals zero respect for Jillian on Lance's part, so we have an impasse. He says he can't work with her and they walk away from each other. Interesting. However, I do have to say that they had a very honest, open discussion about something very awkward, which is good.

Let's move on to people who CAN put stuff behind them. People are doing weird things on the grass accompanied by a whole lot of yelling. In the middle of this, Jillian arrives, laughing her ass off about the fact that the Red team is all Bob's for the rest of the season. (Way to mend fences, Jillian - laugh at a sensitive situation. Well done.) She's trying to cover it up, but the pissed-offedness comes through loud and clear. Sometimes Jillian can be quite immature. Bob, amazingly, with seriously mischevous guffaws, sends Melissa to BOX WITH JILLIAN. However, like the Lance-and-Jillian boxing assignment, this is stymied by the need to have a confrontation first. During this conversation, Jillian utters the amazing and patently unbelievable statement: "I don't judge any decisions you make." Yeah. Right. She then tells Melissa that she can't get past the facts and absolutely believes that the weigh-in was thrown, no doubt about it, she's right, all right, all the time, nyah nyah. She admits that she refuses to believe Melissa, although she's perfectly happy to train her. Melissa, however, refuses to work with Jillian.

And that's the end of it!

Or so we might think.

Because the very next scene is Red hanging out in their bedroom, and Melissa initiates a conversation with Lance. It starts like this:

Her: "We have to talk about this whole Jillian thing."
Him: "Is that what you're huffing about over there?"
(I am liking him more and more all the time. :)

After a bit of chatting, they decide that losing weight is more important than sticking to principles, and that they'll take Jillian's help. Or rather, what really happened is that Melissa talked Lance into being willing to train with Jillian because they're here for a good and noble purpose: to lose weight. I call bullshit. Bob is perfectly capable of getting people to lose weight. Jillian, however, is the one who trains WINNERS. Melissa knows EXACTLY what she's doing, and utters the Truth Of The Week at the end of this little interaction: "I like when I get what I want!" DH: "I'm not certain I like her." (Neither am I. However, I do like her determination and focus.)

Video extra: Melissa and Jillian kind of have it out but not really but they'll still work together anyway. Most interesting is when Melissa says, "I'm the kinda person who doesn't hold a grudge, who says what they're gonna say and then move on." A complete contradiction from her earlier interview where she says she holds grudges forever. Wow.

Video extra: More coverage of Melissa agonizing over not being believed and having it out with Jillian. In this one, she once again interviews about being the sort of person who holds a grudge. (Groan.) Bob and Jillian discuss how to move forward. Melissa whines about being personally attacked and begs Bob to believe her. Bob feels he's finally seeing honesty and tells Melissa to show Jillian what she's made of.

Cut to Grey team cooking in the kitchen. The set-up and the music make it death-defyingly obvious that we are in for a pathetic product placement. However, what is surprising is that it's not for Jennie-O meat, which Grey appears to be preparing - it's actually for Ziploc bags. We are also treated to the sight of rotting canteloupe. Yum. Thanks for that. And Jillian calls Koli "Koli-bear". I like it.

Challenge! At a loading dock. I predict there will be a lot of weight to haul. DH's reaction is simply: "Oh, CRAP." Ali is looking extremely kicky today in a lumberjacky-plaid shirt, ponytails and a hard hat. It's cuter than any woman has a right to be. :) The deal is that teams need to lift themselves on a platform 150ft into the air using some kind of weird ropes-and-pullies-and-ratchets setup. The reward is: phone calls home. Oh, and also another responsibility: picking three other teams to get phone calls home. Green believes they'll never be picked, so they have to win. DH: "What is with their persecution complex?" John tels us that he wants to hear a few words from his one-year-old son. Aw.

Everyone gets started. Darrell freaks out because on the first pull, he gave everything he got, and they ascended about an inch. We get interviews from a ton of the contestants letting us know that this challenge is WAY harder than it looks. During this slog, Ali yells tauntingly at everyone about the prize. Darrell makes a crack in interviews about checking the leading teams for steroids. :) Ultimately, it's Red and Grey out in front, and they have the most pointless conversation with each other near the end: Melissa yells that she wants her kids; Grey yells back that they all have reasons for wanting phone calls; she yells back that she knows that, and then she starts cheering Grey on. The hell? Right at the end, Red puts on an absolutely INCREDIBLE burst of speed (seriously, it was Tara-worthy), but are about one second too late; Grey takes it. Melissa sobs with disappointment but does manage to yell out congratulations to Grey very quickly. I must admit that she is a good loser at these things. Sam, meanwhile, is crying, despite his resolution not to do so at any time on the show. He really misses his parents. Apparently, Grey's motto is "Family First", which Green was yelling out at them earlier in encouragement.

Personally, if I were Grey picking which teams to give phone calls to, I would choose Red, because they put forth such an amazing effort; Green, because they are disadvantaged this week and deserve something nice, not to mention that they need to be proved wrong about how people always screw them around; and...someone else, not sure who. And indeed, Grey chooses Red first, who are sobbingly grateful. Grey then chooses Green, because Migdalia's son is having a birthday soon, and also, her husband is about to be deployed to Afghanistan. Their third pick is Brown, because John has a baby boy, and lost his twin brother teammate in the first week, and that's been rough - he's been depending on strangers for a while and also deserves a break.

Grey are good guys, man. Stephanie looks really disappointed, but what can you do.

Jillian gives us a good apple snack tip before we head off to the break.

Time for the phone calls! Sam is actually shaking as he dials the number. His sister Tracey answers the phone and goes crazy when she recognizes his voice. :) We find out that Sam has never gotten a lot of validation from his parents; they rarely tell him they're proud of him. So this is a window onto some of Sam's issues, I guess. John finds out that his son is saying a lot of words now, including "dada", REPEATEDLY! :) His wife Stephanie puts the baby on the phone, and he recognizes his dad's voice, which is awesome! John reflects that knowing his family is okay will be great for him because now he can focus on himself without worrying. Next up is Red. Lance's face takes on the happiest expression when he hears his kids' voices, that's really sweet. "Can I go to California with y'all?" one of them asks. Hee hee. But the kids are doing very well in school and they sound great. Miggy talks to her fiancé, who has himself lost 20lbs! He tells her to kick some ass, and she says she doesn't know about that, and that she might be seeing him sooner than he thinks. Blissfully ignorant of the game drama going on at the ranch at the moment, he responds with hearty platitudes of encouragement. Koli's mom loves him and misses him lots. Migdalia has a good chat with her daughter, but then tells her husband that she wants to go home. He's proud of her, though, and wants her to hang in there, focus on what she's doing, and stay above the yellow line. She interviews that she felt better after talking to him.

Time to go off-campus, it's a field trip to...Subway! Bob extols the virtues of all the subby goodness, blah blah blah. Can we finish the product placement, please? After chowing down, the contestants discover that they're in for a surprise last chance workout: going up a huge hill. DH predicts Jillian will be waiting for them at the top. And indeed, Jillian is waiting for them somewhere on the hill juuuust when they think they're done. Psych! John loves all this, though, because he finally gets to be with other people during a workout this week. DH points out that this outdoor workout was probably all done for John's benefit: "I bet they cooked this up, just to piss off the producers." DH hopes desperately that Daris makes it to makeover week. ;D Darrell looks completely beat as he carries kettlebells around. Then he has to push freakin' MICHAEL in a wheelbarrow. There's also carrying and throwing of muckin' huge rocks. Jillian interviews that she doesn't like the outdoors, but if it helps her torture people, she's in. She seems to be back in Green's good graces as she whips them into a woman power frenzy. Then she sets Grey the nearly impossible task of wheelbarrowing each other up a hill. They try and try and try, and finally...score! Love them. Jillian can't believe it but is seriously gleeful about it as she wraps up the workout.

Weigh-in. Green is freaking about the 2lb disadvantage. They say that definitely gameplay was involved in their getting the disadvantage. There is clearly massive tension between Red and Green. (You'd think they were opposite colours or something.) Melissa, unsurprisingly, drops a massive 11lbs. She has the gall to act surprised and say that she just. couldn't. gameplay. I call serious bull. None of the players seem to be buying her crap, either. Bob is a bit conned initially, but Jillian whispers to him that the big number was inevitable. She expects Melissa to lose a lot next week, too. I agree. Here's why:

Melissa started Week 2 at 214lbs. She got immunity, and she clearly waterloaded (all but admitting it during the weigh-in) to rise to 215lbs. However, her REAL weight at that point was probably more like 210lbs (a week-to-week actual drop of 4lbs). Flash forward to the Week 3 weigh in, when only her partner's weight counted, and she must have waterloaded: she dropped to 214lbs. But her REAL weight at that point was probably more like 203lbs (a week-to-week actual drop of 7lbs). Now here we are at the Week 4 weigh-in, when she AGAIN has immunity and must have waterloaded: the scale showed 203lbs. But again, with waterloading, her REAL weight is probably more like 197lbs (a week-to-week actual drop of 5lbs). Taking a guess that her next week actual loss is going to be about 6lbs, expect to see 191-ish lbs on the scale for an official "score" of a massive 12lbs. Unless, of course, she gets immunity for a fourth week in a row! Also, look for a big number from Lance next time - this week he only lost 1.85%, which is way off his previous weekly average of 3.74%. He probably waterloaded, too. And nobody noticed; the Melissa drama was the perfect cover. I'll say it again, Melissa knows EXACTLY what she's doing.

We also get a way-over-the-top and completely unnecessary dramatic choral/orchestral leadup as Black weighs in, and Cheryl is SO CUTE with glee when Daris drops under 300lbs.

Finally, it's Green to weigh in. Before the numbers come up, Miggy admits in an intervew that Melissa is very smart. (No kidding.) Both of the women assume extremely hostile-and-defensive postures. Turns out that their numbers kind of suck. Jillian blames the low losses on water retention as a direct result of their emotional states. We immediately get a demonstration of their emotional states as Migdalia storms off the scale swearing at Melissa. However, this is where Melissa gets out-and-out nasty. She gives Migdalia an evil little smirk in return! And then, after someone quietly mentions that the 2lb disadvantage didn't make a difference (Green's numbers being so bad that they would have been below the yellow line anyway), Melissa points that out - but not gently. Instead, she takes on the prissiest tone of voice and rubs it in for all she's worth. Then she winks at Green saucily and is generally a massive bitch overall. Wow. I know the show probably edited things in to make Melissa as villain-ish as possible, but even if you assume that the wink and the smirk were not actually direct reactions to Green's venting, her behaviour was still nasty. (DH: "It's rather obvious that Melissa has control issues.")

Back in the house, Green makes it short and sweet: Migdalia wants to go. However, the bitchfest is not at an end, because Migdalia is extremely aggressive and hostile about saying this. Then she yells at Andrea and Stephanie for having the gall to suggest that maybe Migdalia might want to reconsider. Ever heard the "flies with honey" expression, sweetie? You might want to try that. Geez. Darrell ruminates in an interview that not opening up to discussion makes it difficult to make a decision. Melissa points out that all the drama in this house is being instigated by Miggy.

In the elimination room, the vote is as close as it can get. The people who think Migdalia needs more help and/or just plain can't stand having Miggy around any longer vote for Miggy. Others respect Migdalia's demand...I mean, request...and vote for her. The Orange team is one of the Migdalia voters. Daris opened his explanation by saying, "Green Team, you're both very strong." Translation: "You scare the shit out of me." :) Also at some point, someone utters the phrase, "Your true, ardent desire"...the hell? This week is just FILLED with weird! Finally, it comes down to Black's vote. Darrell points out that if Migdalia had shared her heart with the rest of the contestants, it would have made his decision much easier, and at last we see Migdalia maybe regretting her shitty behaviour. However, ultimately Black respected Green's wishes. Melissa is very obviously displeased. Migdalia claims that she's proud of herself and is happy with herself. I'm not buying it, although later she admits that she's a work in progress. Her ultimate goal is 140lbs. (Good luck with that, as that's an end BMI of 20.7; don't think it's terribly realistic.)

At home, she tells us that she initially gained 10lbs back, what with her husband leaving for Afghanistan and everything. However, the good news is that she got back on track and is now 14lbs lighter than when she left the ranch, so good on her. She's happy with herself again and is liking what she sees in the mirror. Her daughter is happy that her mom is losing weight. Migdalia wants to run a marathon with her husband when he returns. I just hope he returns. :(

Milestones achieved this week:

  • Andrea, John and Melissa hit the 10% mark of total weight loss
  • Darrell and Koli hit the 15% mark of total weight loss
  • Melissa and Cheryl hit the 25lb mark of total weight loss
  • Daris, Sam and John hit the 50lb mark of total weight loss
  • Koli dropped below 350lbs
  • Daris dropped below 300lbs
  • Cheryl dropped below 200lbs
  • Sam and Lance moved from being morbidly obese to being clinically obese
  • Migdalia moved from being clinically obese to being obese

Also, something freaky: both Red team members have lost the same percentage of weight as each other (12.88%), AND both Green team members have lost the same percentage of weight as each other (12.08%); also, Stephanie has lost 12.88% too.


# This wk % Overall % This wk lbs Overall lbs BMI
1 Melissa (5.14) Koli (15.38) Michael (15) Michael (70) Miggy (31.2)
2 Sam (4.19) Darrell (15.01) Sam (14) Darrell, Koli (62) Melissa (32.8)
3 Koli (3.40) Daris (14.74) Koli (12) Cheryl (33.8)
4 Michael (3.18) Sherry (14.68) Melissa (11) John (57) Migdalia (34.4)
5 Cheryl (3.30) Sam (13.98) Darrell, John (10) Sam (52) Stephanie (35.0)
6 Darrell (2.77) Michael (13.31) Daris (51) Sherry (35.1)
7 Stephanie (2.54) Cheryl (13.22) Ashley (7) Ashley (48) Sam (38.9)
8 John (2.29) Stephanie, Lance, Melissa (12.88) Cheryl, Daris, Lance, Stephanie (6) Lance (47) Lance (39.7)
9 Sherry (2.11) Stephanie (34) Andrea (41.8)
10 Ashley (2.10) Migdalia, Sherry (32) Daris (42.3)
11 Daris (1.99) Ashley (12.83) Koli (45.0)
12 Lance (1.85) Migdalia, Miggy (12.08) Andrea (5) Andrea (31) Darrell (50.4)
13 Andrea (1.84) Migdalia, Sherry (4) Cheryl, Melissa (30) John (50.6)
14 Migdalia (1.69) John (11.78) Ashley (54.2)
15 Miggy (0.47) Andrea (10.40) Miggy (1) Miggy (29) Michael (57.0)



  • Michael could drop below 450lbs
  • Darrell could drop below 350lbs
  • Stephanie could drop below 225lbs
  • Melissa could drop below 200lbs
  • Ashley could hit 50lbs
  • Darrell, Michael and Koli could hit 75lbs
  • Ashley, Stephanie, Sherry, Sam, Michael, Melissa, Lance, Daris and Cheryl could hit 15%
  • Darrell could move from super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Sherry and Stephanie could move from clinically obese to obese

They're baaa-ack! The eliminated blue and yellow teams return to the ranch to try to reenter the competition after 30 days at home. Later, the winner of a football challenge receives immunity; and Ali makes an exciting announcment.

Also, based on video previews from NBC's website showing group shots, I can say with certainty that Yellow will be the team who wins their spot back onto the ranch, and John will be sent home after the Week 5 weigh-in. I'm also guessing that the "exciting announcement" could be that they're going to visit the Olympic training facility in Week 6.

Video preview: This video shows that someone with "no previous history" has a medical emergency of some kind. The video also implies, with Ali saying that there will be no deliberation tonight, that the medical emergency automatically takes out the affected contestant. But I think that the reason there's no deliberation is that John falls below the yellow line and is therefore automatically gone since he's a one-person team. I think the person with the emergency must be someone else.


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