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)

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