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The Biggest Loser, Episode 1: He Ain't Heavy, He's my Brotherby Donna Reynolds -- 10/21/2004
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After weeks of promotion by NBC, the premiere of The Biggest Loser is upon us. Can it live up to all the advanced hype, or is this a somewhat desperate attempt by the network to overshadow its recent blunder regarding the cancellation of Last Comic Standing? In any event, I believe in keeping an open mind, and, in that spirit, I will try to be fair in my assessment of this new series.
We are welcomed to the show by an announcer, who informs us that "these twelve people have one thing in common - they're fat." So much for understatement and not advancing stereotypes. The twelve contestants arrive, and, one by one, tell us how they feel about their weight. Lisa talks about how hard it is to find clothes, what with having to worry about her "chub-roll." Matt is somewhat fearful that if he loses weight, people will only like him for being cute. Ryan is concerned about living a long, healthy life, and Gary about some negative medical test results. David, who is already confident about his appearance, just wants to lose weight, and Kelly Mac longs for the day when she can buy anything she wants, anywhere she wants. Lizzeth is doing this partially to serve as a role model for others in her family, and "the other" Kelly, basically, is looking for a man. Dana, who is the youngest member of the group, is interested in learning how to live healthy.
Host Caroline Rhea, welcomes the contestants, and tells them that she knows there is no easy way out of this. There will be no stapling, sucking, or cutting; simply diet and exercise. She tells them that there will be temptations along the way, and, to illustrate this, they each must face their pasts. To this end, we see huge mounds of food, each labeled with a contestant's name. Caroline tells them that this is what they ate the previous week. Yikes! They bid adieu to their favorite foods and move on to the gym. The focal point in this room is an enormous scale with a jumbotron-like screen behind it. Andrea is already freaking out.
Ever so cutely, Caroline tells them, "Don't worry, you don't have to weigh in until, um... right now." She then instructs them to go and put on their bathing suits, which does not go over well at all. They return, in their suits, and I'll tell you what, I feel for them. I wouldn't want to be seen on national television in my bathing suit, that's for sure. And, to be weighed in public. Oh no - I still have flashbacks to junior high when we had to be weighed in gym class, and the gym teacher shouted out our name and weight to her assistant, who then confirmed and recorded this information. No wonder we had eating disorders! Sorry, it's just that all of this strikes a bit close to home.
Ryan says, "It's time to face the fat." He hates it when people see his "man boobs." Gary feels like a slab of meat! After the weigh-in, they are measured and have a body fat analysis. Lisa says she was humiliated. Honey, I feel you. Dana says she mentally prepared herself for this, and Matt, who weighs in at 310, says this is the heaviest he's ever been. This is so painful. Aaron says he's fat because he hasn't exercised, and eats like a pig. Kelly hopes she'll never see this number again. And then it's Maurice's turn. He wins the prize for the heaviest at 436. He's got a good attitude though, and his goal is to show America that, "just because you're large and in charge, doesn't mean you're lazy."
They move on to another room where they find twelve refrigerators with glass doors, each one labeled with one of the contestant's names. Caroline tells them each refrigerator is filled with their favorite foods, which are really their biggest enemies. In his, Aaron has a "French dip sandwich the size of his head." Maurice pines for the extra-crispy fried chicken behind his see-through door. The refrigerator scene also sets up the team dynamics. Caroline tells them that they will be divided into two teams - the Red Team and the Blue Team, and they split up according to the location of their refrigerator.
She explains the rules. In order to stay in the game, their team has to lose the most weight. The team that doesn't must vote off one person. "In the end, only one of you can be the biggest loser," she tells them. Then she lets them know that, along with losing weight and changing their lifestyle, the winner will also walk away with $250,000. Andrea says this gives her more motivation. Caroline tells them they've had a great first day, but warns that they should get some rest because, tomorrow, the trainers are coming. "The house is yours," she tells them.
Here are the team rosters:
Red Team - Maurice, Kelly Mac, Aaron, Dana, Gary, and Andrea.
Blue Team - Matt, Lizzeth, Ryan, Lisa, Dave, and Kelly M.
The girls are excited about their room. Kelly thinks the Blue Team's strength is that they are really laid back, and that the Red Team is too into their own thing. Lisa says if someone tells her she's fat, she's going to eat more. Maurice tells us that his weight makes the rest of them look skinny, and warns, "The overweight lover is in the house." But he also feels that he is the most competitive person in the room. Aaron realizes that Maurice can shed pounds like crazy, but he isn't worried, because he knows how to work it. Gary used to own a gym and knows how to work out. Ryan says that he has lost at least 400 pounds. in his life. His strategy is to focus on his own weight loss. Andrea tells us it's all about focus. They all think they are going to be the biggest loser!1 2 3 Next-->
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