Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Duelling ranches

We are reminded that last week, we lost Ana. Irene weeps in her room and vows to redouble her efforts.

Bonus video: The mood is glum in the house right after the first elimination. The on-ranchers are discussing how badly it sucked. Arthur reiterates that Jesse struggled with his diet last week, but promises that this week it'll be on point. (Holy cow, man, your dad is an independent entity, you can't control him like that.) Back in the kitchen, everybody promises not to think about the off-ranchers and to just focus on doing their best.

The next day, Ali shows up and takes the on-ranchers to the video room. She tells them that last week, the off-ranchers lost more pounds with only five teams than the on-ranchers did with six. Which means the on-ranchers were not simply beaten, Ali points out, they were CRUSHED. (Way to make everybody feel great about themselves, Ali.) Our perky host then ups the ante by saying that if the on-ranchers can beat the percentage of the off-ranchers at this week's weigh-in, they'll all get immunity. Quite the prize! Oh, also, the winning group will win ten thousand dollars. (Later we find out that we're not talking ten grand apiece, but rather ten grand to be split among the team. But still.)

Of course, news of this challenge must also be conveyed to the off-ranchers, who are still working with anonymous trainers cast in shadow. They're all pretty happy to learn via Ali-cam that they kicked all kinds of ass last week. News of the ten thousand dollar prize elicits general promising to beat the on-ranchers.

Meanwhile, the on-ranchers are getting a video montage of the beatings that the off-ranchers got last week. Must've been an impressive montage, because there's general stunnedness in the video room as a reaction. Then Jesse talks some smack to the off-ranchers, and Bob starts talking about how "we gotta lotta work to do". Yep, beatings time.

As Bob tortures part of the on-ranch group, the other part is outside with Jillian, boxing. Jill wastes no time, and starts right in with Jay telling him that he's uber-codependent, which, like a good little yes-man, he agrees with right away. Irene gets some good, mean-looking tunnel vision going. Jillian asks Jen when the last time she really reached for something was. Um...turns out this show is the only thing, responds Jen tearfully. Hannah talks about how Jillian with boxing gloves is scary, but she seems to hold her own nonetheless.

Back in the gym, Dan says that he thinks about his wife and daughter constantly when going through the pain of working out, and this is what gets him through. We then work on Marci's psyche for a while, which is apparently flooded with guilt. She works in the fitness industry yet has a balloon daughter. Courtney is bugged that this bugs her mom, because Courtney accepts full responsibility for what she did her own self. (Go, Courtney.)

Bonus video: The Marci angst is expanded as Bob takes Aqua outside for a heart-to-heart about her guilt. Bob and Courtney encourage her to stop worrying about Courtney, because the light is on. Like, way on. Bob emphasizes that Marci raised a good daughter and that she's not a hypocrite, she's a good mom. Basically it's a feel-good session for Marci. Courtney is so happy that she and her mom decided to stay with Bob and Jillian on the ranch.

Back in the gym, Bob swings the focus over to Arthur. He tells Arthur he needs to start moving like his age (34), and tells Arthur he's got big dreams for him. Right now, Arthur says he's fighting demons in his head. He talks about the angst of not living up to his potential. He got in with the wrong crowd when he was young, not going to class, so he lost all his dreams. Bob tries to go deeper but Arthur wants to walk away. Bob refuses to let him. He promises to be there when Arthur turns corner after corner. Then he takes Arthur for a 30-second jog at 5.0. Gawd, that's gotta be close to impossible for someone his size! But as we go to commercial, we hear a Bob whoop, so it must go okay, right?...

...Arthur pictures his children and gets going. He freakin' does it! Turnin' the corner! Jesse's pretty tickled.

And back off the ranch we go for a different set of beatings. According to Rulon, this is just like being back in the Olympics! (Oh, that boy is on a good workout high right now.) Q says there's no way they're getting beaten this week. Deni tells us that her dad used to tease her with the name "Dumb Deni" because she didn't get as good marks as her brother. So that's whom she beats up on during her boxing sessions. Wow Deni's dad, you sucked.

Bonus video: But wait, there's more of Deni's father's suckage yet to come. For some reason, there is a merry-go-round on the Fitness Ridge location, which Pink is having a stroll by. This makes Deni tear up, and she tells Sarah "the carousel story". When Deni was small, they'd have birthday parties at a local carousel. When they did this for her sister's fifth birthday, it was at a time when Deni and her brother had been gaining a lot of weight recently, and their parents were fighting a lot, so things were tough. Anyway, everybody got on the merry-go-round, but her brother's horse actually stopped going up and down, presumably because he was so heavy. Naturally, this was very humiliating for him, but what made it worse was that their dad teased him mercilessly about it when he got off the ride. We hear again about how his teasing for Deni involved calling her dumb. (Huh. Looks like we know who gets this season's Parents Who Suck label. Deni, please accept the torch from Ada and ride on.) Deni hopes that telling Sarah stories about her childhood will show where her own lack of confidence come from, and inspire Sarah to belive in herself. Sarah's just glad her mom is getting this all out, as hard as it is to hear. She's really happy about all the internal changes that are happening for them.

Back on the ranch (feel like a see-saw yet?), Jillian tells Jen that being on the ranch is a nightmare - not just because Jillian is here (zing!) but because it makes you face all your shit. Especially when Jillian feels like playing psychotherapist, as she obviously does right now. So...what's going on, Jen? Well, Jen feels the burden of wanting to help her dad lose the weight, but she's sick of that burden. So what happens, asks Jillian, if Jay stays fat and Jen doesn't? Well, Jen will feel awful. And that, Jillian ahas, is why Jen never loses weight. So she brings Jay out and makes Jen beat up on him for a while with the boxing gloves. Eventually Jen breaks down crying. So we have a communication moment. There are many tears and they vow to do this as indiviudals. Tadah - breakthrough! Thank you, Dr. Jill!

The on-ranchers decide to spend some extra time at the gym at night, but as they get in there, they find a challenging note from the off-ranchers, accompanied by gooey donuts. Dan and Don, cops who have probably heard every donut joke in the book, feel this is immensely unoriginal and pooh-pooh the off-ranchers' efforts. But donuts are Arthur's fave thing evah, so it's a big temptation. He takes them outside and they all stomp on the box. Later, Arthur grabs the squished boxes and thinks aloud about eating a flattened donut. He says he had the angel and devil on his shoulders at that moment, but he ended up putting it all in the dumpster. He thinks that the fact he was tempted shows that he still needs to be here. He considers this a victory.

But the on-ranchers aren't the only ones putting in extra time. Man, there are a lot of montages of workouts this episode. Can we please see something else?

Oh, fantastic. The "something else" is the traditional doom-and-gloom talk with Dr. H. Predictably, the news is bad. Even champs like Courtney and Arthur, who lost over a hundred pounds apiece before even coming on the show, are not immune. Courtney's inner age is 40. Arthur has the most excess hydrated fat of anyone on the show ever, and has an inner age of 60. To compound the guilt, Dr. H. brings in Jesse's daughter (Arthur's sister), who has Jesse's 10th grandchild with her. (So cute!) She says that the whole family is rooting for Arthur, who in turn says he's representing hard for loads of people. Jesse's daughter then challenges Jesse to do better than the best he can. Jesse interprets this as challenging him to lead the family like he always has, and commits.

Other people then get the Dr. H. treatment. Olivia hears that her size is actually hampering her career, because she can't sustain long notes with all the fat in her system. The twins get the cop angle. What if, asks Dr. H, he was to tell Don that he knew someone was planning to kill Dan. He even knew what the murder weapon would be! Well, weapons, actually: sugar, chocolate and corn chips. To hammer this message home even further. Dr. H. puts Dan's wife and daughter on the phone. (Dammit, I thought it would be Don's estranged son.) Dan has never been away from his daughter more than a few days in her entire life, so this phonecall means a lot. Dan tearfully promises to "do this".

Of course, we can't go too long without some smack talk, so we get another surprise video from the off-ranchers. Marci doesn't want to give them the time of day. The on-ranchers agree to take the higher road and just work hard instead of bothering to respond. DH likes her.

Bonus video: Arthur and Jesse hang out in their bedrooms. Arthur apparently has some serious problems with his bloodwork. Looks like he's going into the final stages of renal failure. (Oh, crap.) He's been told to drink scads of water and sodium, which obviously isn't going to help him at weigh-ins. But Jesse says, that's how things go, and you gotta do what you gotta do. They're here for their health. Nice keeping of the perspective, Jesse. They hug it out, as Jesse says "Your daddy loves you, baby." Awwww!

Beach! Vereen Stadium in Long Beach, to be precise. For today's challenge, the on-ranchers will be competing against the off-ranchers. The task is to get everyone from the beach across the canal using rafts to build a bridge. Every person has to get to the other side to win. Just a few hours ago, the off-ranchers did the challenge in the exact same spot just a little while ago. We see them hauling ass, Rulon and Justin being the alpha males, and the whole team completing it in 38 minutes and 23 seconds. The prize, by the way, is a 3lb advantage for the winning team at the weigh-in.

And right off...oh gawd, the on-ranchers are a committee. There isn't an alpha in the bunch. They're gonna take forever...

...Aaaaand...they do. It takes them longer to get to the halfway point then the off-ranchers did to complete the whole challenge. Sad.

At Fitness Ridge, Moses shadowboxes while sitting on his bed. (DH: He's a force.) He's doing this because he has bursitis in his knee, so he's limited in the kind of movement he can do. (That blows.) He finds that shadowboxing with his family's picture in front of him is very effective. He sure is working up a sweat with it, I'll tell you that. Kayanee drifts in while he's doing this and looks pretty proud. She even tears up and tells him how proud of him she is and that he's a great example for her. Oh, so sweet. They seem like a really loving family. Moses admits he's ashamed of getting so heavy. He's a total family man. I love him already. :)

Bob arrives on the ranch for the last chance workout, to cheers. Jillian is sick, so he's by himself. (DH wonders what could be wrong with her. I speculate that she probably just has a cold. DH counters, saying it must be flu - a mere cold wouldn't take Jillian out! :) The on-ranchers make Bob feel ill by telling him how badly they did in the challenge. He thinks 3lbs is a lot, but he knows they're not going to let it mess them up. Another plus that I'd like to point out: the on-ranchers have Courtney, who, unlike the rest of them, is NOT on her "dreaded week two".

Today's goal: sweat. Jay reflects that Bob is like a conductor in the gym, with eleven people on four or five different machines. It's like an orchestra. (I wonder if Olivia, who actually knows a little something about orchestras, would agree?)

The off-ranchers are working out, too. Austin says that the female trainer asked him to look in the mirror and focus on what makes him who he is. He realisd he doesn't make sense to me anymore. He doesn't know himself, he has no idea who he is. He's starting to realise this is more than just a weight loss journey, and he's still defining it. Go, Austin.

Finally, we get past the six gazillion workout montages and get to the damn weigh-in. And...glory be! We are shown (albeit very quickly, but I taped it for later replay) the numbers of every single person at Fitness Ridge, which of course gives me all the numbers I was missing from last week, too. Hallelujah, my spreadsheet is complete! The world is bright again!

This means I can give a complete list of milestones from last week:

  • Arthur dropped below 500lbs
  • Rulon dropped below 450lbs
  • Jay and Moses dropped below 400lbs
  • Justin dropped below 350lbs
  • Don and Larialmy dropped below 300lbs
  • Dan and Jen dropped below 275lbs
  • Ana, Sarah, Olivia, Irene and Deni dropped below 250lbs
  • Kaylee and Marci dropped below 225lbs
  • Arthur, Jay, Justin, Moses, Rulon and Austin hit the 25lb mark of total loss
  • Deni, Kaylee, Marci, Sarah and Jen went from morbidly obese to clinically obese

There are a lot of successes on the scale. Irene, for example, kicks all kinds of ass. Some people do well but don't appreciate it, like Hannah and Olivia, who lose six pounds each - very good work, I think! Given that it's week two and they're the smallest people in the house, 2.45% and 2.59% is pretty damn impressive.

One thing to note is that Q is, well, kind of sucking with the weight loss. He was the smallest loser off-ranch last week, he's the smallest loser overall this week, and his total loss at this point is only 3.89%. Ouch. Compare that with his nearest competitor, Jesse, who's at a total of 5.12%, especially taking into consideration how big Q is, and you have something weird going on here.

Bonus video: Flash back to earlier in the week, and we see the off-ranchers having lunch outside on picnic tables. They speculate about what's going on with the on-ranchers and talk generally about kicking ass and making sure someone on the ranch goes home this week. (Nice.) But the real focus of this clip is that Q's food choices are not measuring up. Justin and Rulon complain about him in an interview, saying that he chose a chicken sausage with lots of sodium for lunch. We get a lot of cut-in shots where Rulon talks about everyone pulling together...and Q takes a bite of sausage...and Rulon says that everyone needs to do their part...and Q eats some more sausage...and Rulon says...well, I think you get the point. Personally, I gotta wonder, if the chicken sausage is so awful, WHY IS IT EVEN AVAILABLE TO THE CONTESTANTS AT FITNESS RIDGE? Anyway, the strong implication is that Q is not being good with his diet, and also that Rulon and Justin are going to be seriously pissed off at him...

...because the off-ranchers lose the weigh-in! After a lot of really, REALLY annoying overly-cocky talk from Arthur, I might add. (Arthur. Calm down.)

Milestones this week:

  • Courtney dropped below 300lbs
  • Courtney, Jen and Don hit the 25lb mark of total loss
  • Moses hit the 50lb mark of total loss
  • Jen, Moses, Rulon and Justin hit the 10% mark of total loss
  • Courtney and Moses moved from super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Hannah moved from clinically obese to obese

So, no elimination this week! Yay! There is much rejoicing.


Revised and complete Week 1

# loss % lbs lost BMI
1 Moses (9.32) Moses (41) Hannah (35.3)
2 Deni (7.42) Rulon (32) Olivia (36.2)
3 Justin (7.40) Arthur (31) Deni (37.1)
4 Jennifer (7.19) Austin, Justin (27) Jennifer (38.1)
5 Austin (6.82) Marci (38.4)
6 Don (6.80) Jay (26) Sarah (38.7)
7 Rulon (6.75) Don (21) Kaylee (39.9)
8 Dan (6.62) Jennifer (20) Dan (40.7)
9 Jay (6.50) Dan, Deni (19) Justin (42.2)
10 Hannah (6.45) Larialmy (42.7)
11 Kaylee (6.44) Hannah, Olivia (16) Irene (42.9)
12 Olivia (6.13) Jesse (43.5)
13 Arthur (6.11) Courtney, Kaylee (15) Ana (43.6)
14 Marci (5.88) Don (43.8)
15 Sarah (5.36) Marci, Sarah (14) Ken (46.7)
16 Irene (5.10) Courtney, Moses (51.2)
17 Courtney (4.64) Irene, Ken (13)
18 Larialmy (3.99) Austin (51.5)
19 Ana (3.53) Larialmy (12) Jay (52.2)
20 Ken (3.45) Q (11) Rulon (56.7)
21 Q (2.52) Ana (9) Q (57.8)
22 Jesse (2.39) Jesse (7) Arthur (70.3)

Week 2

# loss % total loss % lbs lost total lbs lost BMI
1 Irene (4.13) Moses (12.05) Rulon (17) Moses (53) Hannah (34.4)
2 Rulon (3.85) Justin (10.68) Arthur (13) Rulon (49) Olivia (35.3)
3 Justin (3.55) Rulon (10.34) Justin, Moses (12) Arthur (44) Deni (36.5)
4 Courtney (3.25) Jennifer (10.07) Justin (39) Jennifer (36.9)
5 Jennifer (3.10) Don (9.39) Courtney, Irene, Jay (10) Jay (36) Marci (37.4)
6 Moses (3.01) Irene (9.02) Austin (34) Sarah (38.1)
7 Jesse (2.80) Jay (9.00) Don (29) Kaylee (39.1)
8 Don (2.78) Deni (8.98) Don, Jennifer, Jesse (8) Jennifer (28) Dan (40.0)
9 Arthur (2.73) Hannah (8.87) Courtney (25) Justin (40.7)
10 Marci (2.68) Arthur (8.68) Dan (24) Irene (41.1)
11 Jay (2.67) Austin (8.59) Austin, Ken (7) Deni, Irene (23) Larialmy (41.8)
12 Hannah (2.59) Olivia (8.43) Jesse (42.3)
13 Olivia (2.45) Marci (8.40) Hannah, Larialmy, Marci, Olivia, Q (6) Hannah, Olivia (22) Don (42.6)
14 Larialmy (2.08) Dan (8.36) Ken (45.8)
15 Ken (1.92) Kaylee (8.15) Ken, Marci (20) Courtney (49.6)
16 Austin (1.90) Courtney (7.74) Moses (49.7)
17 Dan (1.87) Sarah (6.90) Kaylee (19) Austin (50.5)
18 Kaylee (1.83) Larialmy (5.98) Dan (5) Larialmy, Sarah (18) Jay (50.8)
19 Deni (1.69) Ken (5.31) Deni, Kaylee, Sarah (4) Rulon (54.6)
20 Sarah (1.62) Jesse (5.12) Q (17) Q (57.0)
21 Q (1.41) Q (3.89) Jesse (15) Arthur (68.4)

Next week: (SPOILERS)

Potential milestones:

  • Arthur could drop below 450lbs
  • Ken could drop below 350lbs
  • Jesse and Don could drop below 275lbs
  • Jen could drop below 250lbs
  • Irene and Hannah could drop below 225lbs
  • Olivia, Marci, Larialmy, Ken, Kaylee, Irene, Hannah, Deni and Dan could hit the 25lb mark of total loss
  • Rulon, Justin and Arthur could hit the 50lb mark of total loss
  • Olivia, Marci, Kaylee, Jay, Irene, Hannah, Don, Deni, Dan, Courtney, Austin and Arthur could hit the 10% mark of total loss
  • Moses could hit the 15% mark of total loss
  • Jay and Austin could move from super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Justin, Irene and Dan could move from morbidly obese to clinically obese
  • Olivia could move from clinically obese to obese

From TV Guide: The identities of the unknown trainers are revealed. Elsewhere, the players compete for a healthy meal prepared by Curtis Stone and a two-pound advantage at the weigh-in; Dr. Huizenga provides more health assessments; Bob and Jillian look for the roots of players' weight struggles; the winner of a water-carrying challenge receives the sole vote during elimination; and a team's weigh-in results surprise the trainers.

From Jam!: The unknown trainers are revealed and share their personal stories; two contestants compete for a two-pound advantage at the weigh-in; a water-carrying challenge.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Freaking the newbies

To start off the first show of the new season, we see one of the preview clips that's been up on the Biggest Loser site for a while. This introduces us to some of the contestants, such as Arthur, the most overweight contestant in the history of the show. Bob explains that, at 507lbs, he's certainly not the heaviest person they've ever had (that was Michael Ventrella, at 526lbs), but because Arthur is only 5'8" (Wikipedia says 5'9", but we're still talking several inches shorter than Michael), his BMI is higher. (74.9, to be precise, which is even more than Shay Sorrels from three seasons ago.) We also meet Courtney, who lost 105lbs even before coming on the show; and Rulon, a former Olympic gold medallist (Greco-Roman wrestling). We get a few clips of the contestants struggling and succeeding, including a glimpse of some kind of water-hauling challenge where Blue, Aqua, Irene, Green, Black and Purple are participating and Purple appears to have just won; and a celebrating Black team, which, as far as I can make out, contains Hannah, Olivia, Irene, Deni, Courtney, Arthur, Jesse, and at least one other person (looks female), so at least we know those guys will make it to the Blue vs. Black leg of the season. We also hear that we will have two unknown trainers this year, and the contestants will have to decide between them and Bob and Jillian.

But enough of the previews, let's get down to business.

Bonus video: In Los Angeles, California, Ali walks into a room full of potential contestants. This is the moment when they discover whether they made the show or not. Naturally, Ali has to psych them out and make them think that they didn't make it...before dropping the good news. At which point of course, they all freak the heck out. There are hugs and interviews with really happy people. Jesse, completely hyped up, vows that this will be a season never to be forgotten.

The Blue team will be father and son Jesse and Arthur. The Orange team will be mother and daughter Ana and Irene, who are very excited. The Purple team is sisters Olivia and Hannah, who frankly come across throughout this entire episode as really fun and funny people. I'm biased towards them already. :) Olivia is an opera singer who has been confined to minor character roles because of her weight. The Grey team is father and daughter Moses and Kaylee. They continue the proud Biggest Loser tradition of having Tongans on the show. The Black team are identical twins Dan and Don. They are both cops, both leading a sedentary lifestyle, and both very overweight. But they are very optimistic, and tell us that there is no aspect of their lives that will not be improved by being on the show.

There are, of course, more teams, but we don't hear much about them just yet, because it's time for Ali to welcome everyone to the gym. They're all stoked. It's a nostalgic and awe-inspiring moment. But there's some realism as well - Olivia hilariously tells us, "Oh my gosh, I am going to PUKE in this place!" Rulon reminisces about the pain and suffering endured by past contestants and looks forward to this being his moment to turn things around. Ali hits the message home that the contestants will be fighting for their lives here. She brings in Bob and Jillian, to great cheers. There are many hugs as Bob and Jillian go down the line, and Bob even recognizes Courtney from having met her previously when she was 105lbs heavier. He thinks she looks great. He and Jillian lap up the welcome and the love. Bob tells us that the first part of the season is just so happy...but it won't last long because the first workout is coming up.

Not, however, until everybody gets weighed in. Olivia looks utterly unthrilled. We hear lots of interviews about how nervous-making this moment is. Ken isn't even sure if he can actually go up there.

But first - a commercial break. And hey...a realistic-sized woman appearing in a TV ad which focuses on her body! Wow! I am impressed! Also impressive is the fact that the commercial break was really short. (That can't last.)

Ken interviews that obesity is rampant in his family. We get clips from his and Austin's audition tape, where they're trying to fit into auditorium/theatre seats. Needless to say, they are extremely squished. They giggle about this, but it isn't really funny, and you can tell that they know it. As he discovers his starting weight, Austin reflects that for years, he's tried to shift the blame for his weight on a family environment that ate and unhealthily and didn't play sports. However, he insightfully notes, he now knows that you can't shift all the blame when you get as high as 396lbs. Bob tells us that Ken and Austin's situation is so typical of American families. He laments the future of the country in general.

When Aqua weighs in, Bob remarks on how driven and focus Courtney is and says she's a big threat. When Orange goes up, we discover that Ana and Irene are exactly the same weight: 255lbs. (Irene, BTW, is gorgeous. I predict I will be remarking on this constantly throughout the season.) Ana tells us that her mom is dead and Irene is her only child, basically the only person she has left. And, as her mother, Irene's heaviness is all her fault. Irene tells her mom to stop blaming herself. When Red weighs in, Q tells us he doesn't want to widow his wife.

The theme here seems to be parents blaming themselves for their children's weight, and the Pink team's Deni is no exception. Daughter Sarah tells us that she lost another pregnancy two months ago because of her weight. She and her husband have been trying to have children for two years, and the doctors attribute her multiple miscarriages (gawd, poor woman) to her weight. DH remarks that Sarah is going to be very pretty when she sheds the pounds. I maintain that she's pretty now. But yes, I too am very much looking forward to seeing her shed the pounds.

The Blue team is an interesting case, because Arthur's current weight of 507lbs is nothing compared to the 646lbs he was about a year and a half ago. (Incidentally, that means he was originally at a BMI of ninety-five point four. The mind boggles.) Arthur tells us that it's a very hard thing to lose almost 150lbs but still be at 507lbs. Yes, I agree that that would be a big downer. But Jillian assures him that they have "nothin' but time", and that she and Bob know he can do it. For his part, Jesse is very upbeat and says they're going to kick this problem in the ass.

At Green's weigh-in, Jen tells us that she doesn't actually know what it's like to be thin, but she doesn't intend to quit. Moses of the Grey team reiterates the message we've been getting over the past few seasons that the Tongan culture values food. But he says he needs to stop using that as an He wants to continue the tradition of success of the Tongan teams on this show and, with a big grin, vows that he and his daughter Kaylee will be the next Biggest Losers.

Don of the Black team tells us that his son has basically disowned him, because he can't stand to see how self-destructive his dad is. But at least Don has a shot of getting his relationship with his son back - his twin Dan tells us his son died six years ago, at age 24. This young man had a drug problem and died of an overdose. (Dan and Don being cops makes this cause of death particularly harsh.) Dan doesn't know what he could have done to prevent his son's death, but knows that he somehow failed his boy. He's also cut up because, shortly before his son's death, he'd actually managed to lose about 100lbs, and overheard his son talking about that at a family gathering, saying how proud he was of his dad. Of course, this is manna from heaven to a parent, but after his son's death, Dan let himself go again and feels he let his son down. Man. This family has issues.

Rulon, as a former Olympic wrestler, has naturally done a lot of weigh-ins in his life. But this one, he expects, will be pretty profound. Rulon has been as low as 265lbs in his heyday. This is a far cry from his current 474lbs. He's pretty horrified and upset about it. Bob says he's not that surprised to see this fall from grace, because it's very natural to go from one extreme to another. DH predicts Rulon will be a serious force in this competition, and I agree. Rulon's partner Justin tells us about a time last year when he was watching the show and he was all judgy and harshing on one of the guys weighing in, yet here he is at 365lbs. He despises himself for the hypocrisy and is determined to be someone that his family and community can be proud of.

With that, Ali makes it seem like she's about to release them into Bob and Jillian's clutches...but no! It's CHALLENGE time! Arthur, who has watched the show before, thinks this means people are going to have to go home, just like the Blue and Yellow teams did a few seasons ago. He's not alone in having this theory, and everyone gets really tense. Ali then reveals that the challenge will determine who the trainers will be. Oh, relief! Nobody's going home! Both Bob and Jillian are great, right? Nobody loses, no matter whom they get, right? But guess what? The choice is between Bob-and-Jillian...OR...two back-lit unknown hardbodies on a hill.


Dunh dunh DUNNNNNNH.

Naturally, this freaks everyone right out. Except Rulon, who looks amused. The instant thought for most people is that you want to keep Bob and Jillian. But Ali says that if you get the new trainers, you get immunity for FOUR WEEKS. The hell? Arthur tells us, who is obviously very familiar with the usual Biggest Loser formula. Nobody gets immunity for four whole weeks! That's crazy town! And yet, it's true.

The challenge is as follows: Each team has a manual treadmill. Each team, as a team (which means that when one person gets pooped, the other person can take over), has to run a 5k. This is a very long distance for sedentary overweight people, so there's even more freaking out. This challenge, however, parallels a series of 5ks that the Biggest Loser is holding all over the country, apparently. The order in which the teams finish determines the order in which you get to choose your trainers. Austin reflects that the battle is not so much to choose your trainer as to choose your destiny. There are five spots open for the unknown trainers, which means that finishing in the top five guarantees that you will be able to make a choice.

Rulon and Justin debate a bit about what the good choice will actually be for them. Justin remarks that Rulon will probably be good no matter who his trainer is. (I agree.) They take off right out of the gate. Jen scoffs at this strategy, figuring they're going to run out of steam fast. Kaylee wants to keep up with Yellow. Courtney vows not to let an Olympic gold medallist beat her. It turns out that Yellow has staying power. They hit the 1k, 2k, 3k and 4k marks before everyone else before winning the whole thing. Rulon enjoys the competitive rush, it's been a while since he experienced that. DH remarks that this victory paints a massive target on their backs. But Grey, Aqua and Brown are also looking strong. And y'know, I'm noticing we're not seeing a lot of airtime from Red. What's up with that? :( Moses is pretty amazed at how well his daughter's doing, and he and Kaylee come in second. Aqua comes third. Jen breaks out in a screaming run, it's pretty awesome and kind of reminds me of Tara The Invincible Ass-Kicker Of Season 7. Jen calls herself The Hulk, which is pretty funny, especially since she's wearing a green shirt. They are followed by Brown, Purple, Pink, Red and Orange, in that order. Blue and Black are still on the treadmill. Arthur tells us that doing this at 507lbs is HARD. (I believe him.) Yet, he perseveres. Dan and Don are flabbergasted that the biggest guy here and his 65-year-old father are outperforming them. But they come in a pretty close last.

Ali makes some noise about the fact that everyone gets immunity in the first week, which gets me all happy, but this is later proved to be a lie as we do have an elimination at the end of the episode. :(


  • Yellow chooses immunity. (DH and I reflect this is very smart, as they have a big target on their backs AND they can probably succeed with anybody. Green, however, is surprised.)
  • Grey also chooses immunity, shocking more people.
  • Aqua goes with Bob and Jillian.
  • Green chooses Bob and Jillian.
  • Brown goes with immunity. (Austin admits this could be a terrible decision but seems pretty upbeat about it.)
  • Purple selects Bob and Jillian. (At this point, Ana's pretty stoked because the choice is going pretty evenly here, so there will be choice for the teams lower down on the totem pole.)
  • Pink feels they need immunity because of all the tough teams here, and chooses the unknown trainers.
  • Red takes immunity.

This leaves leaves Orange, Blue and Black with Bob and Jillian. Ana's disappointed because she wanted immunity.

With that, the contestants remaining on the ranch head over to the gym for their first workout. Where is everyone, asks Bob? Aqua explains the deal with the "unknowns". Gasp! Bob can't believe Aqua chose him and Jillian instead of immunity. So now he and Jill are nervous, and manage to freak Courtney out that she made the wrong choice. But mostly, this is about Bob and Jillian feeling like shit if any of their people go home. They will, however, do their damndest to get the best out of everyone. Onto the first workout! (Time to die.)

We start out on the treadmill and people are already wincing. But wait, here's something new - Jillian has decided not to yell this season. Really? How long d'you think this will last? Not long, apparently. Bob tells us that she makes this resolution at the beginning of every season. :) "Asking Jillian not to scream is like asking the grass not to grow...the fish not to swim...the lions not to roar..." (Bob is so awesome.) And sure enough, mere minutes into the footage, Jillian starts losing her shit on people. Bob focuses a lot on Arthur, who gets really daunted and frustrated. We find out really quickly that Jen is a screamer. You can even hear her loudly in the background when the focus is on other people. Courtney is really impressive and focused. Bob loves her. Jillian demands AGONY! Following which, Ana collapses and has to be attended to by a medic. One of the twins pukes. Marci testifies that she has never seen workouts this intense in all her years owning a health club.

Meanwhile, at a secret location...

Oh no, wait, it's Fitness Ridge. Not so secret. But anyhoo...

We still have no idea who the trainers are. We do find out that the man has a pre-med science background, and the woman is a boxer and has won the Golden Gloves twice. She wants to teach the Losers how to fight. DH speculates briefly that it could be Leila Ali, but I shoot this down fast. Leila Ali doesn't have such a wimpy voice, nor such a small frame. (But my heaven, wouldn't it be cool if Leila was one of the trainers?) The new trainers certainly seem to be effective, though. Everyone is whipped but determined. Rulon reflects that he didn`t even train this hard when he was trying to make the Olympics.

Back on the ranch, we get a lot of shots of Arthur wimping out.

"Arthur, look at me!" exhorts Jillian. "Do I look like a woman who gives a shit?"
"No, you don't," he admits.
"Then get up!"

This is followed by a lot of nagging to get his ass moving. Jesse finds watching all this pretty tough, but knows he has to let it happen. Finally, Bob takes Arthur outside for a heart-to-heart. Arthur tells Bob he wants to get himself back. Bob asks him how he got here in the first place. Arthur used to be a great wrestler, football player and baseball player, but he stopped moving. Then he lost his job, had some kids, and kept gaining all added up. Finally, he saw some TV shows where they have to actually cut overweight people out of their houses to get them to leave home (probably to go to the hospital), and he knew he was on the same road, so he promised to do something about his weight. He's so overwhelmed at the prospect of having to lose an additional 300lbs, but Bob (quite rightly) tells him he can't think about that. He must only think about what he has to do TODAY. (Bob, where was this philosophy two seasons ago when Michael lost his shit?) Arthur feels really reassured to know that Bob has his back.

Just as things are winding down for the day, Jillian brings her truck around. So help me, they're going to have to push the truck all around the campus. Ranch tour, the hard way! There is much groaning. There are even hills! Wow, Bob and Jillian are sadists. ;)

Bonus video: Apparently, people got videos from home during the first week. One family member testifies that Ana's devotion to her daughter led to the downward spiral of her health. She thinks Ana being on the Biggest Loser is good because she's finally doing something for herself. We also hear from Jen's mom/Jay's wife. Apparently it's been years since Jen's been on a date, because she's not comfortable with her looks. Mom/wife vows to support them when they return home. Jen tells everyone she's never gotten below 210lbs. Hannah and Olivia's dad talks about their PCOS condition. It keeps their metabolisms low, making weight loss almost impossible. They confess that they're worried about getting on the scale for weigh-ins. Dan's wife and daughter come on and his daughter starts crying because she thinks her dad's going to die soon. Yes folks, time to whip out the tissues. Poor, dear, little thing. We also hear that Dan made two promises to his dead son: get his master's degree (he did) and lose the weight (not done yet). Olivia is very impressed to have seen how much all the families love and support the contestants.

Scale time? Already? Apparently so - Ali congratulations the on-ranch contestants for making it through their first weeks. She then proceeds to freak them out AGAIN by telling them the highlights of the weigh-in of all the contestants who are with the unknown trainers. The first highlight is that the most weight lost by any one team (we are shown it's Justin and Rulon but the on-ranch contestants don't get that detail) was 59lbs. The second highlight is that the most weight lost by any one person (we are shown it's Moses, but again, the on-ranch contestants don't know that) was 41lbs (which must mean that Kaylee lost less than 18lbs). Not only does this put the fear of gawd into the on-ranch contestants (although Hannah further endears herself to me by quipping that 41lbs equals "a kindergartener and a bulldog"), it also pisses me off something fierce because those are the ONLY NUMBERS we are shown of the off-ranch contestants! What the hell! WHAT ABOUT MY SPREADSHEET, PEOPLE, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WORK LIKE THIS WITHOUT FULL RESULTS?!?

Deep breath...ohmmm...

Okay, back to the weigh-in at hand. The on-ranch people don't do too shabbily, I must say. Jesse kind of screws the pooch - from an interview, it sounds like this was due to his not doing great with his food during the week. Hopefully losing just 2.39% will give him the kick in the ass he needs to get his food sorted out by the next weigh-in. Particularly impressive is Purple, who had a team loss of 6.29% (Hannah 6.45%, Olivia 6.13%.) Not damn bad for people with PCOS and who are the least overweight in the house! Very glad to see them sticking around.

Milestones achieved:

  • Arthur dropped under 500lbs
  • Rulon dropped under 450lbs
  • Jay and Moses dropped under 400lbs
  • Justin dropped under 350lbs
  • Don dropped under 300lbs
  • Dan and Jen dropped under 275lbs
  • Ana, Olivia and Irene dropped under 250lbs
  • Marci dropped under 225lbs
  • Jay, Justin, Moses, Rulon and Arthur hit the 25lb mark of total loss
  • Jennifer and Marci moved from being morbidly obese to clinically obese

(Note that Austin, Deni, Q, Kaylee, Ken, Larialmy and Sarah's weight loss numbers are unknown so I can't include any of their milestones here.)

In the end, it's the Orange team below the yellow line.

Bonus video: Orange team are below the yellow line and have to plead to the rest of the house to send each other home. Ana wants Irene to stay, as she thinks Irene would benefit the most. Irene wants Ana to stay because her mother's health is at risk and she doesn't have a "foundation" in her life (whatever that means) to work out every day. She doesn't believe Ana actually will work out every day at home, but if Ana stayed longer, it would help her incorporate fitness into her life. Ana admits in an interview that Irene has a point, but she still wants Irene to stay. (Ah, the streotype of the ever-sacrificing mother.) Marci points out that Irene is more of a threat, but that the house will vote according to their hearts.

After a vote, Ana gets sent home, where she's down to 205lbs. She can carry mail again! And she's going out! DANCING! That is awesome.


# loss % lbs lost BMI
1 Moses (9.32) Moses (41) Hannah (35.3)
2 Justin (7.40) Rulon (32) Olivia (36.2)
3 Jennifer (7.19) Arthur (31) Jen (38.1)
4 Don (6.80) Justin (27) Marci (38.4)
5 Rulon (6.75) Jay (26) Dan (40.7)
6 Dan (6.62) Don (21) Justin (42.2)
7 Jay (6.50) Jen (20) Irene (42.9)
8 Hannah (6.45) Dan (19) Jesse (43.5)
9 Olivia (6.13) Hannah, Olivia (16) Ana (43.6)
10 Arthur (6.11) Don (43.8)
11 Marci (5.88) Courtney (15) Courtney, Moses (51.2)
12 Irene (5.10) Marci (14)
13 Courtney (4.64) Irene (13) Jay (52.2)
14 Ana (3.53) Ana (9) Rulon (56.7)
15 Jesse (2.39) Jesse (7) Arthur (70.3)

Coming up (potential SPOILERS)

Possible milestones next week:

  • Jennifer, Dan and Don could hit the 25lb mark of total loss
  • Moses could hit the 50lb mark of total loss
  • Moses could hit the 10% mark of total loss
  • Dan could move from morbidly obese to clinically obese
  • Hannah could move from clinically obese to obese

TV Guide description for next week's show: The players compete for immunity, which is awarded to the group that loses the most weight. Elsewhere, Dr. Huizenga provides health assessments of the contestants, whose loved ones are also briefed; the players compete in a bridge-building challenge.

Jam! TV listings description for next week's show: The ranch-based contestants attempt to lose a higher percentage of weight than the unknowns in order to get immunity; Dr. Huizenga talks to the contestants about their health.