Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Button, button, who's got the button?

Back we come from elimination. As you'll recall, the house almost unanimously sent Steph home last week. Victoria remarks that her first elimination was not what she expected. She feels that Stephanie still needs to be here and it was not in the least bit fun. She assures us that it is very different being on the ranch vs. watching at home.

Meanwhile, Melissa is still wondering why people are still not in gameplay mode, and is still calling her competitors "these people" in interviews. To everyone, Sam says he's grateful for the compliment of being kept around. He then says that the house has been really close so far, and not to be surprised if "things" happen this week to make people think otherwise. This would appear to be a preemptive strike against whatever ideas Melissa might have of persuading people to start gameplaying.

Everyone joins Ali and a big red button in the gym. She announces that someone could win immunity by pushing the button. She demonstrates, causing an air raid siren noise to echo around the ranch and red warning lights to start flashing around. Also, the doors to the scale opens up. (This also clearly wipes out all my theories from last week about which contestant was going to try the button. The preview for this week's show gave us a shot of some white woman's arm slamming the button down, but now it's clear that this shot was Ali's demo. Dammit! So now I have no idea what's going to happen with this immunity challenge. Diabolical.)

Every person gets an access card to hang around their neck. The card allows you to access the scale, if you want to use it by pushing the button. The cards have numbers on them, indicating how much weight each person has to total a loss of more than 2% for the week. The first person to push the button and post a 2% loss has immunity. But if you try and fail, you don't get to try again. Melissa is hopping with glee and anticipation, because of course she loves getting immunity. Ashley accurately points out that weight loss this week has become a race.

Michael watches the wheels turning in everybody's head as they consider the implications of this little twist. He also points out that a person who wins the immunity early in the week has the added advantage of having the whole rest of the week's loss AND the following week's loss to count for the subsequent weigh-in, which of course is a huge deal. Ashley later follows up on this line of thinking by saying that it's like being given immunity for two weeks. However, instead of working out and getting started, everyone starts circling the box with the button on it.

The trainers arrive in the middle of all this and are caught up on what's going on. So they start working out the contestants right away. Michael does some great treadmill running. Jillian concentrates on Sunshine and tries to bring out her potential and spark. She tries to get Sunshine to look inside herself and get really focused. For her part, Sunshine's pretty jazzed that Jillian believes in her like that.

Meanwhile, Bob sits Melissa down for a chat, but all she wants to do is talk about gameplay. But Bob wants to help her discover who she is. He warns her not to lose sight of what the house is really about. He's worried that the game will bite her in the ass. But all she's thinking about is having her immunity prizes snowball week after week so she can get into the final four. (I don't know why she wants to be in the final four if she's so sure she has no chance of beating anyone once she gets there, but whatever.)

In order to prevent the show from being sued by the families of Americans who die whilst trying to lose 2% of their bodyweight in a few days, Dr. H shows up to talk to them about the 2% challenge. Is it really safe to do that in such a short period of time? Well, yes, as long as the weight lost is fat, as opposed to muscle, water, electrolytes...y'know, important stuff. He talks about the "sweet spot" of exercise vs. calories.

Disclaimer taken care of? Great! Let's move on.

Day two: Jillian works people out and is pretty pleased with what she sees. Everyone's working hard. But there's also a lot of strategy discussion. Sam fondles the button and freaks Koli out. Ashley and Drea talk about the correct timing of the button-push and laugh as they hear Melissa making the rounds trying to figure out when others are going to push it. "I think tomorrow's too early for ANYBODY," Melissa tells Daris, in what is clearly a ruse so that she can have a clear path to the button tomorrow. Meanwhile, Sunsine tells O'Neal that she doesn't want to participate in this at all, because she's close to dropping under the 200lb mark. She wants that milestone to come on the scale this week at the real weigh-in, and not miss it by going early this week.

Someone is ballsy (or dumb, take your pick) enough to try it, though: Victoria. This doesn't appear to be the smartest move in the world, because not only does it look like it's still just Day 2, but it also looks like it's night, which is a bad time to weigh in. People are generally lighter in the morning. "Victoria, you are a baaaad girl," O'Neal quips, as everyone joins her in the gym. Nevertheless, she is now committed. She scans her card and up she goes. I start thinking that maybe this is a good idea after all - what if Victoria waterloaded last week when she had immunity, and now she's peed it out and she really does have the 2%? Alas, no. She's only lost three pounds. Melissa is gleeful.

Bonus video: Sunshine gives Victoria props for being gutsy and tells her not to get discouraged at all, but to view the three pounds as an awesome start. Victoria says she's got a lot of things on her mind, like what to eat, when to eat, and when to work out. She feels like she's by herself in her house and isn't into the gameplay. Sunshine of course can relate because she went through the same thing when she came back into the house. But eventually she realised that she had to stop worrying about all that and just focus on herself. She advises Victoria to keep her head up and tells her she looks good. After all, she is keeping up with everybody in workouts. She also tells Vicky not to be afraid to ask questions, like if she sees Sunshine talking with Drea, not to assume that she shouldn't go over there, but to come on and hang out, take every moment. Gosh, Sunshine's a nice person.

Water challenge! There are 1,000 weights out in the middle of the pool, each weighing a pound. They're colour-coded, so each player has 100 of them. You have to go out to where the weights are, dive down, grab no more than two of your weights, and bring them back to the side of the pool, where you have to dump them into your colour-coded scale. First person to get all their weights in their scale wins a two-week trip for two to the Biggest Loser resort, Fitness Ridge. The last person to do so gets a 1lb disadvantage at the weigh-in. Such a disadvantage is not such a big deal for Michael, but is a massive deal for people like Sunshine or Melissa. Also, a little twist: when you're done with all your weights, you can choose to help other people. To start them off, Ali throws the demo weights she's been using out into the pool, and Koli and Sam approve of her throwing arm. :)

Everyone is waaaay better at swimming than I could ever hope to be. Sunshine looks strong and gets an immediate lead. But it's a bit dangerous, this challenge - there's some traffic congestion and people are getting kicked in the head. Melissa also complains about being caught in Michael's backwash. Sunshine admires how awesomely fit all the players must be to be doing this, and gives everyone kudos. Fifty weights in, Sunshine's leading and Sam's right behind her.

Suddenly, DH and I look at the leaderboard and realise that once people start finishing, they're probably going to start helping all the people who are under Melissa so that she gets the disadvantage. I'm thinking that'd be AWESOME.

Sunshine is very worried that O'Neal is last on the leaderboard, and is inspired to pull ahead of Sam because she wants to finish and help her dad. He's very touched. And indeed, she wins it! Yay! Sam is next to finish, and Koli insists that he go help O'Neal. They like O'Neal a lot, they call him "Unc". Mike starts reflecting that he does not want to lose this. And good on Victoria, she's third! This is followed by Koli, Drea, Ashley, Daris, and O'Neal. Mike and Melissa are left, with Mike losing. This worries me a lot, but at last, everyone comes to help him out, which he's totally stoked and grateful about. Sam tells us that this sends a clear message about what the house situation is. (Ya think?) Personally, I have no complaints, I happen to like that "clear message". As clear as it is, though, one person fails utterly to receive it: Melissa. She just interprets it as an indication that people are not here to win. Why else would you help the biggest person in the house, the biggest threat? Well, honey, newsflash: IT'S BECAUSE THEY ALL CAN'T STAND YOU. Wake up.

So Sunshine gets the prize and is pleased as punch. She's so pretty. Melissa comes last and gets the 1lb disadvantage. This makes her think that maybe she needs to hit that red button.

Night. People dozing on sofas. (Don't tell me THAT wasn't staged.) Koli and Sam deliberate about whether they should press the button, and are thinking, yeah, let's go. Sam's keen on doing it tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, Melissa is munching on something and drinking water while writing in her journal or something. So if she's ingesting stuff, there's no way she's planning to push the button now. Grey works out until really late at night. Turns out Melissa's intention is to wake up in the wee hours and work out. DH and I agree this is a stupid idea, because lack of sleep gives you a disadvantage. But sure enough, at 3:12am, Melissa gets out of bed and hits the gym.

Sunrise. Breakfast. The remaining sleepers are awoken by sirens. This makes Koli look worred, and everyone heads to the gym. Yep, there's Sam waiting for him. Melissa is kicking herself. She vows to go straight to that button if Sam doesn't get the six pounds he needs for immunity. All the ladies eye him as he walks up to the scale. DH: "Stop drooling."

The scale dials up reaaaaally slowly, dragging out the suspense. But finally, Sam hits his required six pounds, and has immunity! However, the losses keep piling up until we discover that he's lost TEN FREAKING POUNDS! What I think is especially hilarious is that he's so amazed and humble when he's learning about his success, but when it's all done, he feels he has to go all frat boy with the animalistic roaring triumph. :) Sam, you're not fooling anybody, you're just a big sweetie. :)

Melissa still cannot stop kicking herself for not getting to that button earlier: "Shoulda been me," she says. DH: "It's not all about you!" (AMEN.)

Bob and Jillian show up and notice that everyone's weight tags are gone from around their necks. They get the low-down on what happened, and are amazed by Sam's result. Then they hear about the water challenge, and are proud of Sunshine. Jillian is stunned that Melissa came last at the challenge, but then Melissa explained about the helping others thing working against her. Bob tells us that the game turned on Melissa. His subtext: Well, that's just her too bad. The sympathy is not exactly oozing out of him. (Go, Bob.)

Everyone goes to the gym to work out, but Bob holds Victoria back for a talk. This is ostensibly to talk about nutrition, but of course it's really a product placement for Fiber One breakfast cereal. Gawd, poor Vicky, this is two weeks in a row that she has to do the shilling.

Bob calls out Koli during the last chance workout, making him lift a big weight (165lb) while stepping onto a stool. This is a hard task, and Koli has self-doubt, while Bob tries to prevent more lawsuits by telling us not to try it at home. DH: "He better have a belt on." Koli winds himself up to meet this challenge by picturing confetti falling on him at the finale. DH, on the relationship between Sam and Koli: "It's awful to watch that bond and know what's coming." (Stephanie did an interview in a magazine last week where she revealed that the Koli situation has not been resolved yet. Sigh.)

Jillian concentrates on Daris because he's so nice and quiet, and she doesn't want him to get overlooked. He really is looking more and more like a '93 Phillie all the time. We get a flashback of Fat Daris and the difference really is awesome. Jillian gets him to run like a bat out of hell on the treadmill.

As Jillian calls out Melissa, Bob reflects that he loves tag teaming people with Jillian. Melissa tells us that the last chance workout is most important for her of all people because of the disadvantage. Again, lady, not all about you! Arg!

Bonus video: Bob and Melissa have a private talk. Melissa thinks she's not part of an alliance because of her AGE. (No, the fact that you are not in your 20s is not the reason.) And she calls her competitors "foolish". (Yes, the fact that you are contemptuous of your fellow players and ignorant of how annoying you are? THAT is the reason. Okay, reasons.) She barely lets Bob get a word in edgewise, but when she does, he says that this season's roster is simply not full of gameplayers. He then drops a massive hint (which she fails to pick up on) by saying he finds this refreshing. So Melissa's only move here is to kill it in the gym and stay above the yellow line. Bob approves of Melissa's positive attitude and predicts that she won't go home this week.

Bonus video: Jillian does boxing workouts with the contestants, but rarely can she truly allow them to spar. Koli and Sam, however, are exceptions. Jillian remarks on their "boy" aggression and brotherly relationship, and how boxing is a great way for them to get a bunch of stuff out of their system. Koli promptly breaks Sam's nose. (Well, she says it's fractured, but it looked okay, and I'm sure they would have brought a medic in and taken a hospital trip if it was truly broken.) "Is somebody BLEEDING out here?!?" calls Bob from inside the gym. Jillian puts on what is possibly the world's most annoying cutesy voice and blames Sam for getting himself hurt because he "dropped his hand" (i.e. let his guard down). She complains about the boys getting blood all over her nice clean ring and calls the fight, but not before admonishing Koli to keep his head up and Sam to not drop his hand.

Jillian attempts to do flamenco clapping to encourage everyone's pushup timing. (Epic fail on the flamenco stacatto, BTW.) She then takes some one-on-one time with Sunshine to talk to her about, y'know, stuff. Jillian brings up the idea that Sunshine became fat to have a bond with her dad. Jillian wants her to break away and lead parallel lives with her dad instead of their being so enmeshed as they are (although I believe Jillian calls it "ameshed"). Sunshine seems to be onside with this, and Jillian encourages her to step into the spotlight and her destiny. She anticipates that Sunshine and o'Neal will need a Conversation. At some point. Probably soon.

Very very soon, apparently, because instead of going to the weigh-in, we have Sunshine wiggling her foot around nervously in her bedroom as O'Neal comes up the stairs. She tells him she believes she's beautiful now and she really believes in herself, which sends him to pieces. She says she needs to stand by herself for the first time. O'Neal says he could never have let her go until he heard her say she could do it. So now he's letting her go. Everyone's really happy. Yay, Hampton family. :) DH on O'Neal: "He is the reincarnation of Michael Landon. Am I WRONG? My gawd, those tears could float a battleship!"

At the weigh-in, Ali's dress has great potential, but the execution is poor. For one thing, her right boob has been stuffed into it incorrectly, and for another, it's really not that flattering from the waist down. Other interesting moments at the weigh-in include Daris having a bad week. His frustrated yell in an interview FREAKED me out! Michael is HILARIOUS. He flexes his biceps and gets Ali to feel them, immediately thereafter admonishing her: "Didn't your mom ever tell you not to play with guns?" It's so obnoxious that it's really funny. :D As Sunshine goes up the steps to the scale, I notice that DAY-um, she's got great curves! Unfortunately, Andrea has a lousy week with a loss of just 2lbs. Jill and Bob give her a beautiful pep talk, and Melissa looks at Bob like, why the hell didn't I get this when I put up shit numbers all those weeks ago? But Andrea really shouldn't have worried - it was clear it would be either Melissa or Daris with her below the line, and either way, no one is going to send Andrea home under those circumstances.

Oh hey look, my ex is in a fiber 1 bars commercial.

Milestones achieved:

  • Victoria drops below 275lbs
  • Sunshine drops below 200lbs
  • Sunshine hits the 75lb mark of total loss
  • O'Neal hits the 100lb mark of total loss
  • Koli hits the 125lb mark of total loss
  • Michael hits the 150lb mark of total loss
  • O'Neal moves from morbidly obese to clinically obese
  • Sam hits the 30% mark of total loss

At the end of the day, it's Andrea and Melissa below the line and me doing the ol' fist-pump at the prospect of Melissa going home. Andrea and Melissa end up making their appeals to the rest of the house privately, as per Andrea's request. Drea's appeal is personal and tearful. Melissa, naturally, gets lawyery on everyone. (Which I actually can't complain about, since it's the only legitimate move she has in this situation.) She calls herself everyone's "fairy godmother", and points out that she will continue to fall below the yellow line every week. This will enable people to pick off the strong competition, which is a very tempting scenario if you want to make the final four. It's not about people or relationships, she says, it's about getting to the final four and that confetti that Koli wants. I have to hand it to her, she presented that all really well, without any whining or overdramatization. And it looks like she made some people consider her words a bit seriously.

So, how effective was Melissa's closing argument? Turns out...not so effective. This season's house is not about the gameplay. Koli is tired of it all, and his vote is for Melissa. O'Neal thinks Drea still needs to be here, and his vote is for Melissa. So things are not looking so great for the lady in red. She tells everyone that she thinks the choices have been poor so far. (I suppose looking within yourself to evaluate the choices YOU made is out of the question here.) Daris responds: he doesn't WANT to go the easy route of picking people off, he wants competition that pushes him. His vote is for Melissa. Michael says that the players have gotten close, and gameplay has never really cropped up (when he chose the Black and Blue teams doesn't count, I guess) and he doesn't want it to start doing so, so he votes for Melissa. Vicky wants to repay Drea for voting her back into the house, so she votes for Melissa. Ergo, buy-bye. She talks about how really tough it was for her the first time she went home, but now she has Lance there, plus a gym and a trainer, so it's okay.

Unsurprisingly, no one hugs her goodbye or shakes her hand, or anything. She exits.


Melissa reflects on the original weight-in she did in front of family and friends. She says she was lost, angry and sad, but is not that girl anymore. The house is not what's important to her in life. What's truly important are her husband and children. DH: "What's important to you is control, and until you deal with that, you've got a problem."

Speaking of Lance and the children, they're waiting for her to arrive. Her son is proud of her being back, and her daughter finally gets some air time! Lance thinks she looks great. Melissa tells us she and Lance are solid, and their marriage is saved. Lance concurs - he says they're in a great place and so are their bodies. Well, I can't help but approve of happy families, and DH is also glad to hear they're doing well together.

6 weeks later, it's Mardi Gras in New Orleans, where Melissa is going to run a half marathon to celebrate her 40th birthday. Lance runs with her, and they're both in red Biggest Loser shirts. Running with Lance makes the run easier for her than she thought it would be. She uses the half-marathon as a metaphor for her marriage. They finish in 3:49:18. I think Melissa's time could've been way better than that, but I think Lance was slowing her down. However, nobody seems to care, so all is well. Melissa plans to run a full marathon this summer.

Next week (SPOILERS)

Potential milestones:

  • Koli could drop below 275lbs
  • Sam could drop below 250lbs
  • Andrea could drop below 225lbs
  • Andrea could hit the 75lb mark of total loss
  • Sam could hit the 125lb mark of total loss
  • Victoria could move from morbidly obese to clinically obese
  • Andrea could move from clinically obese to obese
  • Sam could move from obese to overweight
  • Andrea and Victoria could hit the 25% mark of total loss
  • Ashley, Sunshine and Michael could hit the 30% mark of total loss

Weight predictions

  • Andrea: 220lbs
  • Ashley: 256lbs
  • Daris: 225lbs
  • Koli: 267lbs
  • Michael: 361lbs
  • O'Neal: 276lbs
  • Sam: 244lbs
  • Sunshine: 190lbs
  • Victoria: 266lbs

Video preview: Danny's back! He's there to inspire the contestants. Then apparently everyone drags Jillian through the mud. Good times.

From TV Guide: Suze Orman assesses the players' financial health and predicts who will win this season. Also: The contestants balance quarters on a platter to win a cash prize; a challenge to find keys in the pouring rain yields the winners a huge prize; and Bob holds workouts in the mud.

Week after next: The contestants eat at a buffet featuring a variety of foods. The player who consumes the most calories wins the sole vote at elimination. Elsewhere, Gabrielle Reece works out on the beach with the players; a building block challenge tests the gang's climbing skills; Dr. Huizenga reveals updated health scores; and a player receives bad news before the weigh-in.

In terms of timing, next week's show must have been filmed around January 20, because that's the day that Bob tweeted a picture of him absolutely covered in mud with the caption "this is me at work today"; and when Jillian tweeted "I am going to F#%*+#* KILL @mytrainerbob" with a link to a photo of both of them all muddy. As well, Ali tweeted around this time "Was insane challenge. Rain, sun, wind, rain again... Amazing prize... Incredible finish", which seems to match TV Guide's description of the April 20 show, especially since Ali followed it up with another tweet saying "Think it'll air mid-april".

As for the week-after-next show, that has to match up with Jillian's tweet the morning of Feb 2: "Today was rough on BL. One of my contestants had his brother pass away yesterday. He was wrecked - then i was wrecked for him. Ughhhh so sick with heartbreak for him tonight." The male contestants left are Daris, Koli, Michael, O'Neal, and Sam, so we're going to have to watch one of them get that horrible news. So brace yourselves.


# This wk % Overall % This wk lbs Overall lbs BMI
1 Victoria (3.89) Daris (32.66) Victoria (11) Michael (154) Melissa (28.2)
2 Sam (3.82) Sam (32.26) Sam (10) Koli (127) Sam (30.7)
3 Sunshine (3.47) Koli (31.51) Michael (9) Sam (120) Sunshine (31.5)
4 O'Neal (2.75) Ashley (29.41) O'Neal (8) Daris (113) Daris (33.4)
5 Ashley (2.58) Michael (29.28) Ashley, Sunshine (7) Ashley (110) Andrea (35.2)
6 Michael (2.36) Sunshine (29.09) O'Neal (106) Koli (36.4)
7 Koli (1.78) O'Neal (27.25) Koli (5) Vicky (86) O'Neal (39.5)
8 Daris, Melissa (1.69) Melissa (24.89) Daris (4) Sunshine (80) Victoria (40.2)
9 Andrea (24.50) Melissa (3) Andrea (73) Ashley (43.9)
10 Andrea (0.88) Victoria (24.02) Andrea (2) Melissa (58) Michael (46.5)

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