The Biggest Loser, Episode 11: The 'Biggest' Finaleby Donna Reynolds -- 01/12/2005
Are you excited about this? I am. Tonight, the winner will be chosen and all twelve of the contestants will be on hand to strut their stuff. It should be fun, especially since several months have past since the last episode was taped. How have our final three - Kelly Minner, Gary Deckman, and Ryan Benson - done since they've been home? We are ready to get this party started.
Before the opening credits, there is a nice teaser featuring the final three. Gary says he’s in the best shape ever, Gary breaks up when he talks about the difference in his attitude, and Kelly talks about how it will be easier for her to love someone else now that she loves herself. Tonight, we will have a chance to watch their homecomings and all the “real-world” temptations. Then, the final three will step on a scale in front of a live audience, and the winner will be determined.
After the saucy opening number, we watch as the final three head home in their individual limousines. Kelly admits that the stakes are high and she is scared because the “new” her has only existed on the ranch. Ryan misses his wife, and Gary is returning on his daughter’s birthday. He says, the real gift is his coming home a healthy father.
Gary arrives home, and his family and friends greet him with a big, backyard party. There are signs all over the house, and his family is all smiles. His mother tells us that it seems strange that he is taking up so much less space. His wife Mary (Gary and Mary, isn’t that cute) tells us that the whole family has a new lease on life. Enough of this! Gary picks up his wife and carries her into the house.
Next, it’s Kelly’s turn. She enters to a full house and lots of screaming. Maureen, her mother, is astounded by her transformation and calls her a “gorgeous butterfly ready to take off.” Mom is so happy Kelly’s home and tells us how much she missed her. Kelly looks beautiful.
Ryan returns to his wife, Mariah, who shrieks with delight. She inspects him and doesn’t seem to be able to keep her hands off him.
Meanwhile, Kelly chats with her grandmother who calls her a “star.” Mom realizes that many doors may be open to her daughter now. But Kelly hasn’t worked out in two days, and apologizes to Jillian. She is concerned that she won’t be able to motivate herself now that she’s home.
Ryan and his wife are eating dinner and she toasts him. He thanks her for being so supportive and breaks up as he apologizes for being gone so long. He knows that he’ll be a lot more help now and is ready to have children. He shows her that his wedding ring is too big and wonders if she will be able to deal with all the women staring at him. Ryan understands that she never really saw him as a fat person. Somehow, though, his conceit is a bit disconcerting, to me at least. I wonder how Mariah feels about this.
We view some family photos of Gary and his family. He tells us that the separation from his wife has been very hard for him – like an “actual, physical pain.” She has pulled out a picture of him on one of their first dates. She cries and says she hasn’t seen this face in so long. She is so grateful that he has his health back, along with his good looks. This is an emotional experience not just for the contestants, but also for their families.
The parties are over, and it’s time to get back to work. Each of the three contestants is using a video camera to record his or her phase of this part of the journey. Kelly says she is only halfway to her goal (I read today that her goal is to lose 100 pounds) and knows that this is going to be a long process.
Ryan takes his nieces and nephews to Universal Studios and is thrilled that he can fit into the rides. The last time he was there, he had trouble pulling down the safety bars. He says it’s strange not to be the “big guy” anymore.
Gary and his family are going out to dinner at an Italian restaurant. The smells overpower him, and he teases his wife, asking if he should have fettuccine Alfredo or linguine with clam sauce. His wife feels kind of guilty about eating pasta, which Gary loves. But Gary, who is totally slim, asks for grilled fish and steamed veggies. He and his wife have a little kiss over the table. Awww.
Kelly, who is a teacher, is returning to school after three months. She walks down the hall and is surprised to discover the entire school is waiting for her in the gym. Everyone is wearing “Minn Will Win” shirts and waving signs. And they are all wearing red too (Team Red, remember). How cool. Her principal calls her an inspiration, and Kelly tells us she feels completely loved and special. Have I mentioned how totally gorgeous she is?
But doubt has begun to set in. With eight weeks to go until the final weigh-in, Kelly is worrying. We see flashbacks of her at a party where she found herself snacking. She says she had to make a conscious decision to step away from the food and put what she learned to practice. This is the stuff that can bring her down, and she knows it.
But Kelly isn’t the only one who is having problems. Ryan tells us that he has cheated a few times, eating gummy worms and pumpkin pie. He has had time alone too, and that has always been the worst time for him. We see his casting tape, as he chows down in the car. Hang in there Ryan.
Kelly and her girlfriends go on a hike. She tells us that she wants to get up there and tell all those women out there that women can do it. Kelly leads her friends on a “Jillian” style run up a hill. Her friend Jeanie tells us that, before, Kelly always lagged behind. She’s leading the pack now, that’s for sure.
Ryan and his wife check out the gym at the mall. He feels as though he has a good grasp on what he needs to be doing, and he begins teaching Mariah some of the workout.
Gary takes his kids to the beach where they roller blade. His daughter says that before, he had to keep up with them. Now, they have to keep up with him. It was such a struggle before. He calls all of this a lifestyle change. Nice shot of Gary and family walking into the sunset at the beach.
They are all struggling, though. Ryan and Kelly miss Jillian, and Gary says that not having Bob around is harder than having him there. Kelly says that she is starting to have pain in her feet and remembers how Jillian used to help her when she had problems. Now she is on her own. I wonder if any of them called Bob or Jillian during this period of time. I think I would have tried.
With 50 minutes left in the show, our final three are at six weeks and counting. Kelly visits a doctor. The pain in her feet has increased. She is “frustrated beyond belief” and mad, especially since she never had problems when she was heavier. The doctor tells her that she has over-use tendonitis. She’s putting a demand on her body that she just can’t handle. She goes for a second opinion. One doctor thinks it may be the beginning of stress fractures, while the other suspects plantar fasciitis. Neither is good. She gets a boost from her father, who tells her that she can work through it. She is worried though, and knows that she is wasting time that she desperately needs. She is hoping for a miracle.
Four weeks to go, and Ryan has lost 15 pounds. Kelly calls Ryan a “weight-loss” machine, but he is not terribly confident. Gary knows how dedicated the other two are, and this keeps him motivated. Ryan says, “Gary and Kelly, I’m coming after you.” It is certainly getting tense, that’s for sure.
With seven days until the final weigh-in, Gary finds himself leveling off. He realizes that he is very close to his target goal, but it is discouraging to only lose a pound a day. He is still weighing himself every day, though. It’s interesting in that, although they can’t see their progress, it is evident to us as viewers. Gary is positively thin now. I can’t wait for the “live” part.
We flip to Kelly who is getting ready to go out on her first date since she’s lost the weight. She looks fabulous, and says she feels “beautiful and glowing and feminine.” She tells her date, Adam, that now that she is happy with herself, she is ready to be happy with someone else. No more insecurities if the date doesn’t work out. They seem to have a nice evening, though, and kiss goodnight.
Ryan reports in after a two-hour workout. He says that sometimes working out is great, and sometimes it’s tough. A three-hour workout after working for nine hours is tough, he says. Sometimes he finds himself grabbing a catnap in his car at lunchtime. Whatever it takes, I guess.
Back to Kelly. She is trying to compensate for her feet, and it is getting harder and harder for her. She is starting to lose it, actually. She’s still afraid of the scale, even though she has lost 17 pounds. She hasn’t weighed herself in a week and is dreading gaining weight. She says, “It sucks to be a prisoner of her fear.” She sounds a little like Lisa.
Mariah, Ryan’s wife is throwing a finale party and has invited all of their friends. Everyone cheers as he walks out in his new suit. Some of these people haven’t seen him since he came home and he got a lot of “Wows.”
Gary is nervous and excited. Mary is excited too, and very proud of him. He has a new outfit and is looking fine. He tells us that he’s already won. He’s happy and healthy and “winning will just cap it all off.”
Kelly gets a party too, and her friends are still wearing red. Her father calls her a “rose that has bloomed.” She sure is. She is also nervous, but at the same time, she is proud. She is hoping to see Gary and Ryan’s mouths drop when they see her.
It’s time to go, and they all say their good-byes. Ryan hopes that the next time he sees his friends he will be the official “biggest loser.” Gary’s ready to “kick some real ass,” and he says he will be disappointed if he doesn’t win. Kelly says that the work in progress is much further along. She is ready to “dazzle the world.” Ryan says that coming in second or third is like “kissing your sister!” And they are off.
Kelly’s in the limousine and says she’s nervous, knowing that she is minutes away from the final weigh-in. Gary reiterates that he wants to win the money, and Ryan wishes that he had done better. Cut to a live audience. They are watching a video screen as the limousines drive up. Caroline Rhea steps out to the cheers of the crowd. She tells us what we already know – tonight someone will win $250,000 PLUS there will be another surprise.
Caroline introduces Gary first. After a brief clip of him at the first weigh-in, he steps through a paper screen, one side of which has a “before” picture of him. The crowd erupts. He looks amazing. Caroline is stunned and can hardly speak. This is live television, after all and she hasn’t seen these people in three months either. Gary’s family is in the audience, waving signs and cheering wildly. He tells Caroline that being away from his family was tough, but he would do it again in a heartbeat. She jokes that now he has a stronger heartbeat!
Now it’s Kelly’s turn. We see her first day shot, and she also bursts through the screen next to her old self. She is wearing a red halter dress with a waist. Yeah, you go girl.. She and Gary hug, and stare at each other in amazement. Caroline says, “Hello bombshell.” Kelly says that Gary looks twenty years younger. She introduces her parents and tells Caroline that, in the words of her neice, she feels like the “prettiest, prettiest princess.”
Ryan is last. He pops through the screen and nearly falls down. Wow. The difference in this man before and after is startling. Caroline can’t believe it, and Kelly and Gary are equally amazed. Caroline points out Ryan’s wife and says, “She looks like me.” A screen pulls back, and there it is, the Biggest Loser scale, live and in person.
Caroline introduces the rest of the team and asks them to stand up. She tells them not to sit down. “When you left the ranch,” she says, “you thought the game was over for you, but you were wrong.” Next week, they will all have a chance to get on the scale and whoever has lost the most weight will win $100,000. Gary, Kelly and Ryan dash into the group and everyone is hugging and cheering. Maurice looks as though he has taken off a few pounds, and Andrea is positively svelte. But Lisa, my, my, my… she looks marvelous.
Caroline tells us that the players on this show lost over 750 pounds. That’s an average of 62.5 pounds each. That is remarkable. Then she brings out Bob and Jillian. Everyone hugs, and Caroline seems overwhelmed. She is totally losing control of the show! She asks Kelly about her homecoming, and guess what? There’s a live feed from Bethlehem, PA where the school has gathered to cheer her on. I so want her to win this.
It’s time for the weigh-in. Here’s the twist. Their total loss of body fat will also be considered. They were dunked yesterday, and those results will be compared to their first body fat assessment. Because Ryan was in the lead at the end of the game, he gets to choose the order of the weigh-in. Wisely, he chooses Kelly first and then Gary. Kelly steps up, looking great in her red Biggest Loser tank top (I want one of them!). But before she is weighed, we have a chance to reminisce about Kelly’s journey. She worked so hard and I am so, very impressed. She shakes her head. Let’s get this thing started.
Kelly gets on the scale. Caroline reminds us that Kelly started at 242 pounds. Her current weight is 163. She has lost 79 pounds. She cries, I cry, and Ryan holds his head. Her total percentage is 33 percent and she has decreased her body fat by 17 percent. Her transformation total (a new little integer they’ve just tossed in here) is 50. She hugs Jillian.
This show is running long and there’s no time for any dramatic buildup. Gary is next. He bolts up to the scale, but of course, we have to have a little trip down Gary’s memory lane. I can’t get over how great he looks. Okay, Gary steps up. When he started he weighed 227 pounds. His current weight is 156. He has lost 71 pounds. Wow. His percentage of weight loss is 31% and he has decreased his body fat by 17 percent for a total of 54. Kelly is out of the game.
Now for Ryan. Again, the transformation is absolutely remarkable. Ryan started out at 330 pounds, and his current weight is 208, for a total loss of 122 pounds. Holy cow! His percentage total is 37 percent, and he decreased his body fat by 18 percent. The total number… 55. Ryan Benson is “The Biggest Loser.” He hugs Jillian, and then Gary and Kelly. Caroline calls Mariah up to the stage but there is no time for any closing thoughts.
The show is running out of time! No commercial, no interviews with the others… what a blunder. Caroline has just enough time to tell us that there is still time to apply for The Biggest Loser 2 and that next week, there will be a “reunion” weigh-in where one of the nine who didn’t make the finals will win $100,000. And that’s that. Don’t you just love live TV!
We’ll be back next week with a rundown of the runner-up’s weigh-in, and my final thoughts on this show. I’m out of time too!
Donna Reynolds is an Assistant Editor for the RealityNewsOnline family of websites and a freelance writer based in Syracuse, NY. She is also the creator of “That’s Entertainment,” a weblog on syracuse.com. Whether you agree or disagree, Donna welcomes your comments, and you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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