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The Biggest Loser Special Edition: Marine Wives vs. Navy Wivesby Brian Towers -- 03/10/2006
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Welcome to my recap of the latest episode of The Biggest Loser: Special Edition. This series pits two teams of overweight contestants in a competitive struggle to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. This “Special Edition” version of the show features small teams with some kind of special relationship – this time, it’s Marine wives versus Navy wives.
There will be four wives on each team. In red, and therefore trained by Jillian, the Marine wives are Sharon, Amanda, Rosalina, and Amber. I remember them with the acronym S-A-R-A. The Navy wives are Dari, Jessica, Tami and Tina. Wearing blue, they will be led by trainer Bob. Even though it’s not that shade, think navy blue - get it?
We start off with the back-stories of the Navy wives. Right now, all four husbands are deployed on active duty and the wives want to look better when their husbands come home. There is a secondary concern to be there for their kids for a long, long time. Dari had gastric bypass surgery nine years ago but never learned proper lifestyle habits. And Tami – Tami has as impressive a volume of hair as any I’ve ever seen.
Bob calls them to let them know they will be on the show. Luckily, all four are at the number that Bob calls, and even more fortunate for us, there are TV cameras on hand to record it. What were the chances? The ladies squeal for joy at a high decibel level.
It’s a similar tale for the Marine wives. The four have gotten used to counting on each other for support when their husbands are away. As Jillian is about to call them she tells us, “They are going to be recruited into my boot camp.” This team is also thrilled over their opportunity.
Adventures begin as hostess Caroline Rhea welcomes both teams to the ranch. It’s after dinnertime and quite dark outside. After ascertaining that the natural rivalry between different branches of the services is indeed present, Caroline tells them that since they’re used to saying goodbye, they have to say goodbye again. As we’ve come to expect, it’s a goodbye to tables of calorie-rich foods. Sometimes the display of food looks revolting, but this week, I think it looks pretty good.
Caroline ends this segment by telling the ladies to change clothes for the initial weigh-ins. Yes, it’s time for the ladies to don those flattering sports bras and baggy shorts. Caroline reminds them they are playing for $50,000. She doesn’t volunteer to divide that number by four for them, but it’s actually a $12,500 prize each.
The exact starting weights are in a chart near the end of the article, but let me summarize the weigh-in by saying that Amanda and Dari are both in the 240s, little Amber is at 157 pounds and all the rest are clustered between 190 and 217 pounds. The total team weights are pretty close, with the Marine wives at 803 and the Navy wives at 852. My first thought is that Amber has less weight to lose and this may put the Marine wives at a disadvantage. But let’s see how this all plays out.
While they are hearing their initial weights, no one is happy about the number she hears. Dari says, “Don’t tell my husband.” Amber, only five feet tall, says she weighed only five pounds more when she was nine months pregnant. Amanda is concerned about several weight-accentuated conditions that run in her family and sheds a few tears.
Caroline tells the now-demoralized teams that the winner of the weigh-in at the end of their stay at the ranch (and at the end of this episode) will win an extra week with her trainer. This brings back a few smiles and increases everyone’s resolve to do well.
As the Marine wives team file into their bungalow, they discover there’s been a little interior decorating done. There is a large American flag on one wall and pictures of the team members on another. The Navy wives team has a similar situation – no flag, but there are Navy hats that remind the women of their absent husbands.
Being a military wife is not easy. As they sit about the room missing their families, Sharon surmises that this must be how their husbands feel when they are away. Rosalina tells the rest, “Every goodbye gets worse and worse. I cry every single time.” Amanda says, “It gets harder and harder not knowing when they are coming back.” Rosalina adds, “Or if they are coming back.”
The next morning, the trainers play a loud tape of a bugle charge and call out their teams with megaphones. Amanda says, “I’m expecting boot camp mama, and that’s what I need.” As Jillian takes them through their first workout, she tells them the great tip that they should always be moving to keep the heart rate up. Jillian finds it ironic that she’s training Marine wives because she’s patterned her style after Marine concepts like “never give up and never surrender.”
Tami of the Blue Team thinks the Red Team is in better shape than they are, and is amused by all the marine chants they come up with. Slightly apologetically, she adds, “We don’t even have a chant.” Marine wife Rosalina tells us they have their game faces on, and Navy wife Jessica notes that the Marine wives are very serious. Yes, the Red Team has the right trainer in Jillian.
It’s day one and we’re in the gym, where Dari has a crying jag. Bob knows it’s because she’s beginning to realize how far she’s let herself go. Dari doesn’t feel she’s pushing herself hard enough. I think she can only do so much at this point, but she’s not satisfied with how low that level is.
In the next sequence the teams come inside to find a temptation challenge. The players roll a die and move down one side of a long table, with each setting like a square in a board game. To continue in the game, the team must eat whatever is at the place indicated by the die, though not every spot is bad. If a team can make it to the other end of the table, they win a $5,000 shopping spree (well, $1,250 each).
Of course, we know the right thing to do is not to play. They don’t even know their final sizes yet, so a shopping spree is really not a great prize. But several of the players are eyeing certain squares with great relish, and the odds of getting to the end without having to eat something evil are closely examined.1 2 Next-->
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