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Biggest Loser 5: Couples, Episode 1 – Twenty Vie For Coveted Titleby Brian Towers -- 01/02/2008
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If you did not read my article that previewed this season, you may wish to check it out here first. One correction is that team jerseys I thought were RED are instead ORANGE.
This is a big cast with a lot of different colored jerseys and team dynamics, so things could get confusing for readers. Therefore, I’ll provide a chart of the surviving teams each week. You might even want to print this one out for reference throughout the season. Here’s the list of original teams:
The show begins with many preview clips that tease us of the season ahead, but are really too quick and disjointed for it to be useful for me to recap them. The basic message is: It’s gonna be good, people! But in this article, I’m skipping ahead to after the main theme is played.
Action begins on the day before contestants arrive on Campus. We visit briefly with each team. First up are the mom & daughter team of Bette-Sue and Ali. Both were once nationally-ranked swimmers, Bette-Sue in speed swimming and Ali in synchronized. Bette-Sue says she’d give everything to have her daughter win.
Parents Curtis and Mallory are up next. Wedding shots show us that once upon a time, they were a hot, young couple. Curtis tells us that he worked hard to get medical insurance for his family, only to be denied coverage himself. Needing to lose at least 150 pounds to get his insurance, he feels he is a failure as a husband and a father. Hearing her husband say this makes Mallory cry.
Friends Jenn and Maggie work at a camp for overweight children. They are aware that being their size in their job sends all the wrong messages.
Young parents Neill and Amanda are next. He tells us their objective is to get in shape before their young son realizes they are fat. It was a tough decision for them to leave him and be on this show.
Paul and Kelly used to be married to each other. He would like to get back together; she doesn’t HATE him, but that’s not going to happen. The men in Paul’s family don’t live past fifty. A photo from 1993 shows Paul with a powerful build, but he’s twice that size now.
The father and daughter combo of Lynn and Jenni (whose picture adorns this article) call themselves “Team Big Dog.” Jenni wants to bond with her dad and make him proud of her.
In the mom and son team, Jackie feels guilty for her son Dan’s obesity. She says, “He’s the kid that grew up playing video games and eating fast food. And the worst thing about that is, I’m the mom who drove him to the fast food place.” Dan admits he’s a statistic, part of America’s growing obese population and realizes that at age 21, he needs to take responsibility for his own condition.
Brothers Jake and Mike have been successful at everything except losing weight and being healthy.
Several seasons ago, Trent and Roger anchored the middle of the University of Alabama’s o-line. They feel they can win because they’ve been through vigorous training before and know they can stand up to it.
Series host Alison Sweeney greets the nine teams of two in a big field. Everyone is wearing his or her own clothes. Alison immediately brings out the tenth team of Brittany and Bernie, who meet right now for the first time. They have a slight relationship in that both were selected as members of The Biggest Loser Online Club (on the NBC website), but really, they are complete strangers. Brittany thinks they have an advantage, because they don’t come with pre-existing baggage from an existing relationship. Jay of the brothers team notes their youth and thinks they will be a factor in the game.
Alison tells them that right away, there’s a challenge. And the prize is: Jillian and Bob, the trainers! A video follows to reintroduce us to Bob and Jillian. Jillian says her objective is “rebuilding people’s lives,” and her style as, “It’s violent, it’s aggressive, it’s uncomfortable.” Bob says his approach is, “functional training, balance, and coordination, and getting you comfortable with your skin.”
The challenge is pretty straightforward. Teams will run up a steep hill, touch a flag, then come back and line up behind the trainer of their choice. The catch is that each trainer will only train five teams, so the laggards will not get to make this key choice.
In a cameo, mom Jackie says that this might be an all-day challenge. Other mom Bette-Sue says a bad word that may begin with an “F,” but fortunately it doesn’t get past the ever-vigilant censors. She says this because she feels her chance of getting Jillian as their trainer is lost, and thinks they need her no-nonsense approach.
Before the race starts, we see video clips of teams expressing their trainer preferences. There is no consensus. Son Dan wants Bob, while daughter Ali wants Jillian. As the race starts, everyone jogs the first few yards across the flats, but when the hill is met, several teams begin walking. First to the top is, to their surprise, the brothers, while despite being pulled determinedly by daughter Ali, Bette-Sue lags badly.
The challenge is taking its toll on the contestants. Footballer Trent has hamstring issues and wife Mallory thinks she might pass out. Several teams appear to be optimistically searching for a med-evac chopper as they reach the halfway point.
At the end, the brothers end up winning handily. They choose to be trained by Jillian. In second place is the team of strangers, who choose Bob because Brittany feels he can better address her emotional issues. Curtis trips, resulting in an impressive face-plant. Jillian is the choice of the next couple of teams, the former football teammates and Mallory and her husband Curtis, who had an impressive face-plant running on seemingly-flat land.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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