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The Biggest Loser: Special Edition – Restaurant Families, Episode 2: Temptation Everywhereby Brian Towers -- 02/02/2006
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Last week, we met two families of four, both engaged in the restaurant business. The Sapienza family (cousins Robert, Daniela, and Toni, plus Toni’s daughter Alexa) is from The Bronx, New York where they have a pasta place. The Senti family (father Scott, wife Tammy, and daughters Kelly and Emily) from Peoria, Illinois, runs a ‘50s-style diner.
Last week, the Senti family won a treadmill challenge to return to the ranch for a week of extra time with their trainer, Bob. This was the strangest challenge ever, where the operation of the treadmill was more important than ninety minutes of team effort. The same family also won the initial weigh-in by a fairly wide margin and their prize was a family vacation in Curacao. However, with both families working in the restaurant business, anything can happen when they get back in the real world and have to work around the wrong kinds of food all day long.
The show begins with the families returning home after ten days at the ranch. It will be six months before they return for a final weigh-in and the chance to win $50,000. As usual, each living room has been changed into a gym. I’m not exactly sure how this worked for the Sapienza cousins, if they all got outfitted or just where Toni and Alexa live. At any rate, they also have a new refrigerator stocked with the correct food, plus inspirational videos from their trainers. Both teams are very aware that it’s going to be tough to keep up the proper behavior.
We next see several video diary entries. After a month at home, members of both teams are having trouble staying motivated. Kelly admits she cheated once, felt guilty about it, and hasn’t cheated again. Good for her! Tammy says she’s never doing another lunge because she can’t walk afterwards. We also see Alexa riding stationary bike at a pace that would really irk Jillian - it’s barely moving.
Diary entries jump ahead to when there are twelve weeks left. Kelly admits it’s harder than she expected to keep to her workout schedule. Scott is confident, but Daniela worries that teammates Toni and Alexa are not… dare I saw it… pulling their weight. Well, at least she only told the camera, it’s not like they’ll ever hear what she said…
It’s time for the surprise visits from the trainers. Bob arrives at the diner in the passenger seat of a delivery truck and shouts, “I’m a long way from the ranch!” Bob is “shocked” that Scott is looking so much slimmer. One funny moment, Tammy accidentally reveals they haven’t been eating turkey burgers. Note that one doesn’t use a bun with Bob’s turkey burgers – the outside of the sandwich is two big pieces of lettuce. One not-so-funny moment is Kelly offering weak excuses for taking up smoking again.
In Peoria, Jillian finds her team in the gym working out on a set of treadmills. Good move, Sentis! She sees big changes in Robert and Daniela, and some improvements in Alexa. However, Jillian tells Toni her weight loss isn’t noticeable and suspects her diet. Alexa is discouraged that she isn’t losing more weight faster, and Jillian tries to motivate her. After taking them through a tough workout, Jillian tells us she’s impressed with her team.
Meanwhile, Bob is working out his team too. He’s impressed that Emily is hanging in there. He has Tammy doing the lunges she hates, reminding her that spending the $50,000 prize WILL be fun, so they are worth the pain. Bob is also constantly harping on Kelly about her smoking. After a bit of a meltdown she admits she needs to quit smoking. I’m not sure that Bob is convinced, we’ll see.
Jillian has invited herself to an Italian dinner at the Sapienza’s. We see a healthy meal prepared with what looks like fish garnished with peppers, corn and other veggies. This must be cooking from a part of Italy I’m not familiar with- there’s no pasta or rich sauces.
At one point Jillian pulls Alexa aside to review her food journals. Whoops, Alexa’s been cheating on her diet! Further and probably worse, she is very defensive about it. Inside, Alexa knows Jillian is trying to help her, but being a teenager, rebels anyway.
One thing Alexa had said was that she wanted to be able to buy clothes in a normal store. So Jillian decides to take her shopping, and we see her try on several outfits. Some (but not all) of the outfits look good on her. Jillian suggests that they buy one outfit Alexa likes and one Jillian likes. When Alexa agrees, it surprises Jillian - she’s gotten so used to hearing “no” from her.
With six weeks to go, both teams come home to find they have a “Biggest Loser-gram.” We now know that it contains a current picture of the other team. Both teams had hoped the other team had slacked off and are now concerned that the other team is looking very slim. Kelly Senti puts the picture on the fridge for inspiration, but covers the faces. Ha!
With one week to go the Senti team returns for their bonus week at the ranch with Bob. Everyone is working hard, but Scott and Emily impress him the most. As they take a break, Bob brings in the series doctor. He has news for Emily… she no longer has any signs of diabetes. Good for her!
OK, the preliminaries are over. On stage with series host Caroline Rhea, both families look pretty good. They are live in front of a Hollywood studio audience and initially they stand on opposite sides of a dividing mirror. Then, the mirror is lifted and the teams see each other. Both teams respectfully applaud the other. Emily tells Caroline that things are much better for her at school, and that’s good.
The trainers are brought out to observe the weigh-ins, and the Sapienzas up first. That’s not good news for them because the first team to be weighed has never won. Last week, they established an initial weight of 843 pounds. Toni gets up there first, and lost 23 pounds. Alexa is next, and she’s lost 25 pounds. As percentages those are 10.80 and 13.09, so perhaps Daniela was right to be concerned. Another way of looking at it is that they “only” lost 31 pounds between them in six months at home. I mean, don’t get me wrong, any loss is a good thing, but we’ve become accustomed to bigger numbers on this show.
Daniela’s up next, and has done pretty well, losing 42 pounds (25.77%). Finally, it’s cousin Robert’s turn. He also turns in some very nice numbers, going from 276 pounds to 197! That’s an impressive 79 pounds lost, or 28.62%
Combining all those numbers together, the total loss for the Sapienza family is 169 pounds, or 20.05%. As Caroline informs the Senti family they must have lost more than 188 pounds to win, it seems pretty likely that they did.
Scott leads off, and he’s done extremely well, dropping 82 pounds, or 20.94%! Wow! Tammy is next, and she’s dropped 54 pounds (25.12%). Kelly is next, and she’s done fine with a loss of 42 pounds (19.91%). That means Emily only needs to have lost 10 pounds. There’s no doubt in my mind that she has. And in fact she lost an impressive 64 pounds, or 25.60%!
This gives the Senti family a total loss of 242 pounds or 25.72%, which is a clear-cut victory. Finally, Bob has trained a winner! Family members come out of the audience to congratulate them, and we’re done.
No Heather Small tune plays us out this week. Instead, we learn that the ‘50s diner has added some healthy selections to it’s menu, Daniela is training for a marathon, Emily is happier in school, Alexa enjoys clothes shopping, and Robert teaches a seminar to kids about obesity prevention. Good for you, Robert!
It was nice to see one of Bob’s teams finally win a weigh-in. I had thought this was the last of the Special Edition shows, but it seems as though there’s more coming. Next week, we see week one of “Engaged Couples II” as Bruce and Kimmi from Los Angeles go head-to-head with Nick and Lael from Hawaii.
Brian lives in Toronto where he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.
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