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The Biggest Loser 4, September 11 – The Selection and Rejectionby Brian Towers -- 09/13/2007
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Welcome back to Season 4 of The Biggest Loser!! This series focuses on teams of overweight contestants and their competitive struggles to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. Challenges and temptations bar their way to a nice prize – $250,000 cash. We will often be reminded that, in this show, “The Bigger Loser will be the biggest winner!”
This week, we have a big two-hour preview to enjoy, so let’s get right to it, shall we?
Before the events of the initial episode unfurl, some prepared video is run to give us a little background about the impact of this show on America, and what’s ahead this season. Voiceover Guy tells us versions of the show now runs in ninety countries on every continent but Antarctica.
Some of the twists we already know about are mentioned, namely, new host Alison Sweeney and the presence of returning trainer Jillian Michaels and her secret Black Team. Since I’ve written about these things in earlier columns, let’s move along.
Next, back-stories for some of these contestants are shown in brief clips. There are twin brothers who are very determined, a paramedic who has trouble doing her job, the oldest contestant ever, and a Hurricane Katrina survivor. We also meet Neil, too big to attend a ball game because he can’t fit into the seat, cheerleading coach Hollie, who remembers being called “a fat pig” when she was ten, and Patty, who has an elevated liver enzyme. Needless to say, all the stories are compelling. But enough previews; let’s get on with the events!
Sensing my angst, series host Alison meets up with the eighteen contestants somewhere in the Mojave Desert. Alison shares her own story with them, which involves both getting bigger and losing weight on national TV. She tells them, “Change can be really scary.” She also tells them the show’s big scale has recorded 6,500 pounds of weight loss so far, representing the burning of 23 million calories. I suspect it’s more, as they never acknowledge the Special Edition shows.
Alison has one question for the gang: “Are you up for the challenge?” All enthusiastically indicate how very ready they are. Alison indicates a plane passing overhead, and out parachute the two trainers, Bob Harper and Kim Lyons! Kim tell them that the first person to reach Bob will be the captain of the Blue Team, and the first to get to Kim will captain the Red Team. She further informs them that the captains will pick five teammates each, and the other six will be going home.
Oh good, just what these self-esteem-challenged folks need – more rejection in their lives!
Cutting back to the plane, we see that the trainers are actually doing tandem jumps, strapped to someone who (we hope) actually knows what they’re doing. One also notes the absence of a helmet on the trainers. Is that even legal?
While we wait for them to waft to the ground, brief video clips indicate that Kim’s team “have no idea what’s in store for them,” while Bob’s troupe will find out, “It’s going to be tougher than they ever imagined.”
As Bob and Jillian near the ground, Alison turns the pack loose. Jerry, who is the oldest contestant, estimates the trainers are about a mile away. Pretty much everyone is trying their best, though some realize the task is pretty daunting for them. In a cameo, Kim tells us it is exciting to see the spirited pack make their way towards them, and Bob echoes similar sentiments.
Finally, Jerry is the first to reach Bob, followed closely by big Phil. Phil is an ex-football player, and he sweeps Kim up in a hug and spins her around like she’s a rag doll!
The others arrive in a string. Twin Bill is third, and Nicole is the first woman to finish.
Somewhere about the time everyone regains normal breathing patterns, someone realizes that paramedic Amber is still out in the desert. We see her walking along and weeping steadily. The group decides to go back and meet her. Amber is appreciative not to have been abandoned to the coyotes, and trainer Bob likes this display of teamwork.
Hostess Alison tells the captains they will have a chance to meet with their teammates at the Last Chance Diner tonight, and then they will make their picks. The six not chosen will be sent home on a plane (wink – not really!) Captain Jerry is glad for the chance to select the best teammates he can, but dislikes the fact that he will be responsible for sending six players home. Buck up, Jerry – Phil is 50% responsible too.
Several of the players take the opportunity to tell their stories. I can’t identify the players yet and the editors didn’t give me any names to work with, so let’s just say there are fourteen people in this room who will be heartbroken if they have to go home now. As the tales continue, there are few dry eyes among the group of sixteen. Picking teams that exclude six of them is going to be rough!
Picking begins. It’s alternate picks, and as winner of the race, Jerry gets to go first. The first seven or eight choices are wildly celebrated, but then the realization that they may be excluded seems to subdue the crowd. “Schoolyard Pick’em” is a bitch. Those chosen (in order selected) are:
BLUE TEAM (Bob)
RED TEAM (Kim)
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