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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Biggest Loser: Week 3 standings

# This wk % Overall % This wk lbs Overall lbs BMI
1 Lance (3.57) Daris (13.01) John (14) Michael (55) Miggy (31.3)
2 Koli (3.55) Sherry (12.84) Koli (13) Darrell (52) Melissa (34.5)
3 Ashley (3.48) Darrell (12.59) Ashley, Darrell, Lance (12) Koli (50) Cheryl (34.8)
4 Cheryl (3.33) Koli (12.41) John (47) Migdalia (35.0)
5 Migdalia (3.27) Miggy (11.67) Daris (45) Stephanie, Sherry (35.9)
6 Darrell (3.22) Lance (11.23) Sam (11) Ashley, Lance (41)
7 Miggy (3.20) Ashley (10.96) Michael (10) Lance (40.5)
8 Sam (3.19) Stephanie (10.61) Daris (9) Sam (38) Sam (40.7)
9 John (3.10) Cheryl, Migdalia (10.57) Migdalia (8) Migdalia, Stephanie, Miggy, Sherry (28) Andrea (42.6)
10 Sherry (3.06) Andrea, Cheryl, Miggy, Stephanie (7) Daris (43.2)
11 Daris (2.90) Michael (10.46) Maria (43.6)
12 Stephanie (2.88) Sam (10.22) Koli (46.6)
13 Andrea (2.51) John (9.71) Maria (27) Darrell, John (51.8)
14 Michael (2.08) Maria (9.61) Sherry (6) Andrea (26)
15 Maria (1.55) Andrea (8.72) Maria (4) Cheryl (24) Ashley (55.4)
16 Melissa (0.47) Melissa (8.15) Melissa (1) Melissa (19) Michael (58.9)

The Biggest Loser Review, 2010/01/19

We start out with a recap from Week 1. Why is a Week 1 recap relevant to the Week 3 show, you may well ask? Its because we need to be reminded about how the Blue and Yellow teams were booted from the house shortly after their arrival, yet secretly given 30 days to train for a chance at getting back in. And if we need to be reminded, that must mean that we're going to revisit them in this week's show. Sure enough, it appears that we're halfway through the 30-day at-home challenge, so we get to see how everyone's doing.

The Blue team is trying to increase their life expectancy by...playing in traffic. You think I'm kidding? I am quite serious. They are walking strangely up and down a street - not a sidewalk, a STREET. You know, where cars drive? Yes. Very longevity-inducing indeed. The Yellow team, however, is a bit more safety-conscious: they go to a gym. However, Sunshine's devotion to safety is suspect since she chews gum while running on the treadmill! What is with these people? What's next, running with scissors? Cliff-diving? RUSSIAN ROULETTE?!? Ahem. At any rate, O'Neal is seriously in the zone. He has a mission: to get back into the house for his daughter. Man, I wouldn't want to mess with him when he gets going.

Bonus scene: More Blue and Yellow teams at home (contains good workout-creating and nutrition tips)

Back on the ranch, it's time for a temptation. Ali introduces the theme of the week: Student And Teacher. She tells them that when they all go home, they have to take what they've learned at the ranch and pay it forward. To get them started, the teams will be divided up: one member will be the 'student' and the other the 'teacher'. Whoever is the student doesn't get the trainers at all for the week - the teachers have to absorb knowledge from the trainers and pass it on to their student teammate. However, in an ironic twist, it is the student members of the teams who will be the only representatives on the scale this week. Diabolical. Since Stephanie and John don't have teammates anymore, they will be paired up this week as a team of their own. (I don't know what you get if you combine Purple and Brown, but I don't think it's any kind of colour I want to wear.) And how are the students and teachers chosen? Well, that's what the temptation is for, of course! The person who wins the temptation gets to make ALL the student/teacher picks. And what are they eating? Ali reveals two tables filled to the brim with mounds and mounds of chocolate candy. (Probably Smarties; but as Nestle clearly hasn't paid any advertising dollars to the show, the candies remain safely anonymous.) There will be a number of rounds to the game - in each round, you need to eat a candy to stay in the game. The person who eats the most candies wins.

Melissa interviews that she doesn't need the drama of playing God at this stage in the game, and neither does Andrea. Many other teams seem to have come to the same conclusion, as there is a distinct absence of candy-swarming once the temptation begins. However, Pink wants control, so Sherry eats a candy. Michael also eats a candy - later, we find out that he didn't want the power either, he just didn't feel like giving it to Pink on the first round (fair). In round 2, Sherry tries to psyche Michael out by waving a candy in front of her mouth. Michael gives her a priceless look of disgusted amusement. But eventually he lets her have it. Pink has won the power for just 10 calories - Melissa can't believe it. Ashley interviews that as soon as they won, they were sorry. (Duh.) But, since Pink now has the power, they discuss what they're going to do with it. They seem to decide that they don't want to play dirty, and dictate the teams as follows:

  • Black: teacher Drea, student Darrell
  • Purple/Brown: teacher Stephanie, student John
  • Grey: teacher Sam, student Koli
  • Red: teacher Melissa, student Lance
  • Orange: teacher Cheryl, student Daris
  • Green: teacher Migdalia, student Miggy
  • White: teacher Michael, student Maria
  • Pink: teacher Sherry, student Ashley

A lot of these choices seem pretty non-dirty, but some of them are clearly strategized. Melissa, for example, since she waterloaded (or whatever) the previous week, was bound to have a kick-ass number in Week 3, so they put her partner on the scale instead. For White, Michael clearly has the most to lose and has been doing pretty well, so they put his partner on the scale instead. One team that is instantly pissed off at the choice is Green. Miggy believes that everyone knows her daughter is due for a peak week, so she sees the removal of Migdalia from the weigh-in equation as a move designed to screw them. I don't know if that's true or not, but I did have to admire the fantastically proud look of pissed-offedness that came across her face.

Enter Bob and Jillian, noting that half the playing field is gone. (They must be so nervous every time they show up at the ranch; there's always some sort of twisty news to get hit with.) The teachers explain what's going on. Bob and Jillian can't believe that the power of the choice was won with only 10 calories, and you can tell that Jillian is actually kind of bummed because she doesn't get to scream at anyone this week for not having any control. But the real story here is that Migdalia is leaking like a badly-maintained nuclear reactor, but with angry vibes instead of radiation (although potentially as deadly, if the expression on her mom's face earlier is any indication). However, Migdalia steadfastly claims that everything is totally cool, despite the fact that the trainers know she's bullshitting. (Yes folks, denial is not just a river in Egypt.) Jillian and Bob manage to get about 30 seconds of private discussion in about this before they go off to the gym.

In a Maybelleine ad, people neck while lying down in the street. Holy crap! WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH PEDESTRIANS COURTING VEHICLULAR DEATHS? (Art imitating life, perhaps?)

Okay, back to the gym. The trainers decide to focus on people one-on-one. Bob interviews that this week will be weird. The trainers drill everyone on what to do with their teammates. Notes are taken.

Bonus scene: Bob and Jillian train the teachers (in which Bob points out that John has weeny little chicken legs holding up massive amounts of torso weight, which DH and I have been noticing for some time)

Migdalia continues to be pissed as Jillian literally leaps onto a treadmill to confront her. (Seriously, what is the deal with Jillian perching on all the equipment? I bet she was one of those kids who kept running around the house by leaping from one piece of furniture to the next. No wonder she screams at people all the time, she probably heard it from her parents while growing up.) Jillian goes full-throttle into Confronting Psychotherapist mode, noting that Migdalia always seems to be playing the role of parent to her mom. When her victim agrees, Jillian asks who takes care of Migdalia? Answer: Migdalia does. "Well, you're doing a helluva job," Jillian cracks. "I'm working on it," comes the response. Jillian interviews that it isn't the game twist that has made Migdalia so pissed off, that's just the trigger. She tries to get a breakthrough out of Migdalia by beating the crap out of her, but is stonewalled by excuses that break the buildup of the torture session, such as having to pee. Jillian starts to look a little outclassed here, because Migdalia isn't cracking. Bob sums it up: "She shuts alllll the way down."

For the first time in her life, Jillian is questioning the wisdom of screaming at a contestant. Bob is amazed by this, and tells her to go for it anyway. Jillian is reluctant, because her instinct is telling her that Migdalia is the kind of person who will walk in response to that. But Bob wants Jillian to try it anyway, so she does. Personally, I think Jillian's right, but here we go. The badgering immediately begins: Jillian starts telling her that her daughter is going to end up fat. Migdalia is excruciatingly defensive about this. The conversation about the daughter continues, and it comes out that Migdalia views crying as a weakness. This is clearly a pivotal moment, as Bob is distracted from whomever he's training at the moment and looks on intensely. Jillian tries to explain that human feelings are there for a reason; they're an indicator that things aren't in balance. However, Migdalia seems to believe that human feelings are sent (by Satan?) to tempt us into weakness.

Jillian makes a very good point: "If you stonewall the process, it will stonewall you." At last, Migdalia reveals that she's not happy with herself. But when Jillian asks why, that's the moment when Migdalia walks. Jillian follows her out and gets in her face. For the first time in Biggest Loser history, the Tiny Perfect Trainer seems to have met her match: you can hear the desperation in her voice, and she even starts begging Migdalia to stay. Migdalia seems like she's starting to crack by the tone of upset in her voice (DH: "Amazingly enough, she has not decked Jillian."), but ends up walking away, vowing to go home.

In response, Jillian breaks the no-talking-to-the-students rule and appeals to Miggy, begging her not to validate Migdalia's decision. Green hashes it out in subtitled Spanish. (Damn, I love listening to Spanish.) Jillian appeals to Bob to "close the deal", so Bob goes in and plays Good Cop to the absolute hilt. Migdalia has decided that she's mad because Jillian told her she's a bad mom. She's not here to be told that kind of crap, she's just here to lose weight and get nutritional information. Miggy follows up by saying that they're here to change their lives, not change their personalities. Bob fails utterly to make the point with these ladies (probably because they could take him out in about two seconds flat) that being on the ranch means that something is wrong inside and needs to be dealt with; it's not just the surface crap like eating right and exercising. Instead, he's totally outclassed. However, although Migdalia shoots him a look of death that I'm surprised didn't incinerate him on the spot, she decides not to quit, and she and Bob "hug it out".

Green 1, Trainers 0.
For now.

Back to the ousted teams. Blue is taking their first spinning class. Cherita was pretty scared, given her epic fail in the bike challenge on Day 1, but it turns out that she loves it. Meanwhile, O'Neal and his wife Sarah have a 'moment'. She confides something that he never knew before. Her worst memory is the day he heard his mom died of a stroke. His mom died when she was just ten years older than O'Neal is now, and this, frankly, scares Sarah shitless. The need to change is driven home once more.

(Is it just me, or does O'Neal have a serious Michael Clark Duncan thing going on?)

Back to the ranch once again, and the teachers are training the students. It seems to be going pretty well, especially for Darrell, who does the ladder machine for ten minutes. This is quite an accomplishment; I've heard the ladder machine is really brutal. Hell, I wouldn't want to climb a ladder for ten solid minutes, and Darrell is three times my weight. Needless to say, he looks wiped when he's done.

Meanwhile, a new character, "Sandy the Medic", takes a look at John's knees while everyone else is lying on gurneys getting their joints iced and looking generally done in. However, this is not actually an update on John's health - we are sideswiped AGAIN with a freakin' product placement! Sandy plugs some kind of handy-dandy Walgreens icepack. Unbelievable.

Fortunately, it's time to make the ladies happy with Curtis Stone. He's there to make the girls swoon...I mean...give nutritional information to the teachers; educational gems such as the fact that restaurants serve ridiculously large proportions. He shows the teachers a whole bunch of restaurant dishes which all have mammoth calorie counts. The dessert alone is 1,679 calories. Michael confesses that pre-ranch, he would have had ALL of those dishes in one sitting (!!!), which totals something in the neighbourhood of 8,600 calories. For ONE MEAL. Melissa, like the rest of the viewing audience, is appalled.

So what is a standard portion? Well, let's cook chicken cacciatore and find out. Whilst plugging a specific brand of canned tomatoes. They all cook a healthy meal together, and Curtis points out to Michael that he could have EIGHT servings of the healthy chicken dish they made and STILL have fewer calories than one of the nasty dishes that was shown earlier. Michael is, rightly, amazed. Good times.

So the teachers take all this great knowledge back to the ranch, and while eating a good, healthy meal, Green talk about how Migdalia isn't happy with herself. Miggy explains that Migdalia doesn't know how to handle her feelings. Attempting to elicit maximum emotional reaction from the viewing audience, the cameras close up on a single tear running slowly down Migdalia's nose. (Oh. Mah. Gawd. Producers, STOP TRYING SO HARD! The human drama as-is, plus the fantastic transformations are sufficient to make us want to watch the show, trust me.) Miggy does a pretty good job; she seems to get Migdalia to admit that she a) has a problem, and b) needs help. Big steps.

(DH: "Okay, Miggy, now it's YOUR turn!")

A school bus takes the contestants to a kid's playground. Everyone is confused. (DH: "Y'know, if I was on this show, I would dread seeing Ali.") However, all is explained: this is a student/teacher challenge. The twists and turns of the show's competition are going to be metaphorized in today's activity. The teachers must unwind 1,000 feet of ribbon through the playground. The students will then draw for which ribbon they'll have to untangle. The first student to unravel their ribbon and get it all the way back to the starting point wins. The prize is immunity, AND the ability to choose one team to switch teacher/student roles. All the teachers then go nuts with their ribbon spools, trying to make tangles that make my knitter's heart quake. Michael gets particularly into it - NOBODY wants to draw the white ribbon.

However, Ali has completely psyched them out. She tosses away the random draw box and tells them that everyone will be bringing in their OWN ribbon...and...wait for it...BLINDFOLDED! The teachers have to guide their students in without touching the ribbon or the student. Maria, obviously, is particularly unhappy, as she has to untangle that goddamned white ribbon. In fact, everyone's pissed off. (Welcome to the Biggest Loser.) However, a few teams seem to have a bit of an advantage. Firstly, Red looks strong, because Melissa's a lawyer, which means very good communication skills; and Lance has a background as a commercial diver, so he's totally used to working in the dark. Grey looks good too, because Koli has lots of experience with ties and knots. And Green might also be one-up on everyone, because they speak Spanish to each other, thus keeping everyone else in the dark about what they're doing and how the ribbons look where they are.

Not everyone is so lucky. Pink has the disadvantage of having Sherry as the teacher. She likes to say super-helpful things to Ashley like, "See the ribbon?" and "Put it through there!" Gold. :) And everyone seems to run into knots of white ribbon. Michael is just not everybody's favourite person now, I would wager. DH thinks Red has this, and it does seem to be pretty close, but in the end, Grey takes it. Red are very good losers, I must say; they laugh it off with ease.

Last chance workout! Which, according to Bob, is weird. (We need to start a Biggest Loser drinking game; and Bob saying "weird" needs to be one of the triggers.) The trainers have to give the teachers their last chance workout, and then the teachers have to turn around and give the students a last chance workout. Sounds like it's going to be a long day. And the whole time, nobody knows who's going to be on the scale, because Grey could choose anyone to switch. Bob gets Migdalia to work out her frustrations by beating the crap out of a punching bag with what looks like a bowling ball. She ends up breaking it, and stuffing flies around the room. Jillian loves it.

DH doesn't understand how Daris can be "the entertainer" to all his friends when he comes across as dull as sand.

Unfortunately, a bunch of people interview that Michael hasn't been putting in a lot of effort, and isn't taking the process seriously. For emphasis, we see clips of Michael joking around in the gym. Sam and Koli's work ethic, however, is fired up. They're working like demons, despite the fact that they have immunity. Miggy also gets to beat the crap out of something, and tears it up on the treadmill to boot, refusing to stop and pushing herself even when Migdalia offers to dial the treadmill back. I love her. LOVE her. Migdalia to Miggy, post-treadmill: "Love ya. You wanna go hit the bag again?"

Bonus scene: Sherry and Cheryl attempt to be Jillian during the student last-chance workout

As the weigh-in begins, Pink is doubting their decisions. However, that's over and done with; it's Grey's turn to make a decision now, and they choose...a commercial break. During which I have to mute the Sidekicks commercial because DH always gets vorklempt when he sees that sad salt shaker. Anyhoo, Grey ends up choosing the White team to switch, because of how disappointed they were with Michael's efforts this week. They emphasize that their decision is not meant to eliminate him, but rather to give hi a wakeup call. Michael is annoyed by this. Who are they to dictate how hard he should or shouldn't work, he asks? Well, they're the guys who won the ability to switch a team, so...

Onto the weighing, during which Daris points out that it doesn't actually matter how you do, it's how you do compared to everybody else. This is a very acute observation, and I think it's the key problem with this show. Kristin from Season 7 has a video clip on her website from one of her motivational addresses, where she says that one of the worst things you can do in your weight loss journey is compare yourself to others. And yet, every week on this show, we have the yellow line. Sigh.

Some interesting results this week. The big shocker is that Melissa only loses one pound. Jillian believes she threw the weigh-in...again. DH predicts that next week, Melissa is going to get some one-on-one TLC from the Woman in Black. Ali remarks how fortunate it is that Grey did not choose to switch Red, and Melissa tries to pretend that she's upset about not losing weight. Jillian calls bullshit while Bob just looks really pissed off. The trainers are angry at the insult to their intelligence and expertise, and Melissa says she's angry that they're questioning her word and integrity. Eventually it degenerates into a yelling match, which demonstrates that if Jillian ever tries her usual screaming tactics on Melissa, they will fail miserably. Jillian is having one helluva season, eh, with all these nuts she can't crack? Lance, meanwhile, when asked for comment, makes the excruciatingly smart move of announcing that he doesn't want to say a damn thing right now. :)

Milestones achieved:

  • John drops below 450lbs
  • Andrea drops below 275lbs
  • Ashley, Stephanie, Sam, Miggy, Migdalia, Michael, Lance, Koli, Darrell and Cheryl hit 10% of total weight loss
  • Andrea, Stephanie, Sherry, Miggy, Migdalia and Maria hit the 25lb mark of total weight loss
  • Darrell, Michael and Koli hit the 50lb mark of total weight loss
  • Cheryl moves from clinically obese to obese


  • Lance is the week's biggest loser (3.57%)
  • Top overall loser is Daris (13.01%)

When all is said and done, it's White below the yellow line. And actually, it turns out that Grey's switching decision made no difference whatsoever: with the exception of Melissa's one-pound loss, Michael and Maria were the smallest losers of the week. In fact, Michael had the bigger loss. Back in the house, Maria - no surprise - asks, nay, begs, everyone to keep Michael in the house. Michael gets all pissy in an interview, saying that if he gets sent home, it will just prove that all the other contestants are cowards...which is kind of crap. Michael is not coming across as very likeable this week, I must say. (Although I don't begrudge him the going-insane-with-the-ribbon thing.)

People make some noises about wanting to send Michael home because he has disrespected the process, but ultimately, respect for Maria mostly wins out; she's sent home long before all the votes are revealed. Purple/Brown is the lone vote for Michael that we are shown, which unfortunately ends up making them looks like jerks. Also, they have now earned the enmity of an Italian family. Oops.

Back at home, Maria is down to 230lbs, and she's really proud of herself. Moreover, she has a swimming instructor! She invites a bunch of family and friends to her club to watch her swimming. They are amazed. "Who needs the noodles now, huh?" someone says. Her husband Dominick seems outrageously proud of her, which is very sweet. She wants to swim in the ocean for the first time on her family's next vacation. Aw.

Predictions for next week:

  • Darrell and Koli could go below 350lbs
  • Daris could go below 300lbs
  • Cheryl could go below 200lbs
  • Andrea, Melissa and John could hit the 10% mark of total weight loss
  • Daris, Lance, Miggy, Sherry and Darrell could hit the 15% mark of total weight loss
  • Cheryl could hit the 25lb mark of total weight loss
  • Ashley, John, Lance and Daris could hit the 50lb mark of total weight loss
  • Darrell could move from super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Lance and Sam could move from morbidly obese to clinically obese
  • Migdalia, Stephanie and Sherry could move from clinically obese to obese

Also next week (SPOILERS):

The players compete for immunity during a surprise challenge. The winning team also has the chance to influence the weigh-in for three other groups. Later, the trainers are dismayed by one team's game-playing tactics, and the contestants take part in a lifting challenge.

Preview clip: Melissa takes issue with Jillian questioning her integrity

Week after next (SPOILERS):

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 footbal challenge receives immunity; and Ali makes an exciting announcement.

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!

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.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Extra tidbits (SPOILERS)

  • Video: yep, the Brown Team are identical twins.
  • Video:
    • Someone gains one pound week two to go from 214 to 215
    • Cheryl's Week 2 starting weight (and therefore her Week 1 ending weight) is 213
    • Daris's Week 2 starting weight (and therefore his Week 1 ending weight) ends with '7'
  • Video: Daris's Week 1 end weight is 317lbs