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The Biggest Loser 3, Episode 1: American Beautyby Brian towers -- 08/15/2006
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Welcome back to Season 3 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. It is possible 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 show 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. A faceless voice tells us there were “a staggering 2,226 pounds” lost on the first two seasons. In addition, Loser-related challenges have sprung up around the country between work groups and other interested in living healthier lives. We are told that for many, the heath risks of obesity are severe, such as heart disease and diabetes.
With every state encouraged by the show, the decision this year is that every state will be represented this season. GASP! I have to recap a show with 50 CONTESTANTS?
We next see backstories for some of these contestants in brief clips. There’s a desperate housewife from Rhode Island, a father of six from Arizona, a single grandmother from Idaho, and a firefighter from Tennessee. Needless to say, all are compelling.
Sensing my pain, series host Carolyn Rhea returns my heart rate to near-normal numbers when she says 36 contestants will be going home and only 14 will continue at the ranch.
Faceless guy promises we’ll see, “A new gym to train in, new challenges to test them, and new challenges to entice them.” I’m starting to get excited about this season, and it’s not even three minutes old yet!
Faceless further informs us that Bob Harper returns as the blue team trainer. However, for the red team Jillian is gone, replaced by a new trainer, Kim Lyons. Kim has worked for over ten years in the fitness industry and won numerous fitness contests. Kim is very attractive and not surprisingly, she has appeared on more than 30 fitness magazine covers worldwide. I’m going to miss Jillian, but I look forward to seeing how Kim, dare I say it… “works out!”
Faceless continues, “The rules haven’t changed… lose weight or be sent home.”
We are then treated to clips of contestants either crying and/or helping each other work out, to the strains of Bill Withers monster classic, “Lean On Me.” Faceless concludes with the questions, “How much weight can a nation lose… and who will be crowned the next Biggest Loser?” We are then treated to a too-short version of the series’ theme song, “Proud.” I think we’re ready for this episode to finally get started!
It all begins with a series of short clips about what inspired these folks to apply for the show. All of them are heart-rendering, but I’ll just list a sampling. Nikki from Ohio says, “The one thing for all of us is just being fed up with being fat.” Evelyn from Nebraska is tired of being judged by her weight. Erin from Rhode Island relates, “I’ve been humiliated by a scale long enough.” Poppi of New Jersey asserts, “I’m not doing it because people have looked at me and said I’m fat. I’m doing it because I’ve looked at me and said I’m fat.”
The music changes to woeful-sad mode as the testimonials continue. Sarah from Wyoming tells us she fails at losing weight every day. John from Arizona is doing it for his six kids. Erik from New York simply says, “Life this way just sucks.” Valerie of Pennsylvania says, “I’m just not proud of how far off-course I’ve ended up. When I think about the Valerie that I like, she’s becoming a distant memory.” And Timothy from Delaware is motivated by love for his family. Closing on a more positive note, Adrian from North Dakota feels she’s ready to make the changes necessary, and Erin from Rhode Island feels the goals are within her reach.
These testimonials are accompanied by a clip of the contestants all jogging, wearing state-identifying tee-shirts. They’re running to meet show hostess Caroline Rhea. It’s fairly spirited and I’m a little surprised how well everyone is doing. Caroline congratulates them and sagely advises, “Before you lose weight, you actually have to gain something… focus on yourself. You are going to make yourselves into priorities, because being healthy is the most generous thing you can do for those who love you.”
Caroline tells the assembled that based on a random sampling, the group consumed 1,636,941 calories last week, or two-and-a-half times what is recommended. “We’re all this big for a reason,” says Indiana’s Pam. Caroline makes everyone happy by announcing that it’s time to get weighed. All 50 get on this monster scale and we are informed the starting weight for the country’s representatives is 14,384 pounds. That’s an average of almost 290 pounds each! The 50 moan.
Caroline then breaks the bad news to the contestants, saying, “Only 14 of you will do it here at the ranch. 36 people are going home today!” Notice that wording, she didn’t say they are eliminated. Remember it, because I’m betting the 14 selected didn’t catch that clever nuance!
Via a zip line, the two trainers arrive from the sky. Some note a new blonde has replaced Jillian, and indeed it’s the aforementioned Kim Lyons. A former athlete, she assures us her good looks are “not because she was born with it,” nor is she “a cheerleader wuss. They come from hard work.”
On the other hand, Bob Harper says, “People think they know me, they’re going to get all these hugs and kisses from me. I’m going to be hugging them to the gym and kicking their ass all over the place. But I’ll do everything I can to help you reach your goals.”
To see what they have to choose from, the trainers start putting the crowd through some calisthenics. Yes, the trainers will be the ones picking the 14 to continue! Bob admits, “I do work from the inside out. So, I’m looking for people that I wanted to get to know more.” Kim wants a well-balanced team – smilers, serious ones, and ones that want it so badly they’ll do anything.
Everyone is doing their best to impress the trainers. When asked if she can handle eleven weeks of training, Melinda of Alabama (who, already cute, is going to be a SERIOUS heartbreaker as a slim soul), says, “I want twelve!”
Bob notes that in previous editions of the show, he’s always been given a team. This time, however, there are people who have come to the ranch who he cannot help.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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