The Biggest Loser 2, Episode 3: Shake Itby Brian Towers -- 09/29/2005
Welcome to week three of The Biggest Loser 2, the series that pits two teams of overweight contestants in a competitive struggle to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. Challenges and temptations bar their way to a nice prize.
Last week, all competitors successfully battled the first temptation, and then Dr. Jeff had trouble with a balance beam. Neither team could come close to matching their awesome weight losses of the first week, however, the men more than doubled the weight loss of the women. Loner attorney Kathryn was eliminated.
The questions of the week are: can the Blue Team overcome the tension caused by a tiff between obsessive coach Jillian and disruptive Nick?
As a reference, these are the contestants in this year’s show:
THE WOMEN (Blue Team, coach Bob):
THE MEN (Red Team, coach Jillian):
Eliminated, in order:
As the show opens, we learn the contestants have lost 342 pounds so far. Way to go, gang!
We begin with Suzy in the kitchen. She can’t find any food – it’s gone! Instead, there are little signs that say, “Your food is gone. If you want to eat – order in or dine out.” Panicked, she runs off to tell Mark. Others inspect the empty shelves to see if Suzy was hallucinating or not. Not.
What they do have is take-out menus. Suzy says, “I don’t like this!” and says she isn’t ready “to eat in the real world yet.” Conversely, Mark is looking forward to learning how to order this kind of food he’s so often confronted with. I like his attitude better.
The Red Team is working out, awaiting Jillian. Nick pointedly calls their tiff “a misunderstanding.” Jillian ignores Nick, but Matt talks. He tells Jillian that the five of them (i.e. all but Nick) need her, and when she walked out on them yesterday, “You ripped our guts apart.” Jillian takes it to heart, apologizes for blowing up and promises she’ll be there for them, “as much as you want me.”
Trainer Bob has arrived for the day, and tells us that in “Food Gone Week,” the only food in the house is “the Temptation Food, which is clearly not an option.” Bob reviews the menus with his ladies. His approach is, he gives them a set number of calories and they can spend them as they chose, as long as they stay within the limit.
Jillian is going into specifics with the guys. She tells them to get all-white-meat chicken, and to go extra light on the BBQ sauce, because it’s loaded with sugar and calories.
As Suzanne is ordering, Bob leans over and advises, “No butter or oil on the omelet.” She’s tells us she’s learned, “No extras, no beans, no sour cream… the list goes on and on!”
It’s Temptation time, and no one has eaten. Suzanne doesn’t like that. Each player is standing in a booth with a table covered with shot glasses full of special shakes. Pete likes shakes!
Also present is celebrity chef and nutritionist Jackie Keller, who has cooked for such notables as Owen Wilson and Charlize Theron. Well, one for two ain’t bad. She’s going to do Carolyn’s job on this challenge. No word on where Ms. Rhea is… hopefully, it doesn’t involve Mr. Wilson.
The event works like this: they have five minutes to drink as many shake-shots as they can. They are about 40 calories apiece, made from reduced-fat milk. The winner, along with a friend of their choosing, will have Jackie cook them nutritious meals all week. My first thought is, can I pick Pamela Anderson? Perhaps thinking along similar lines, Mark picks out ten glasses without chocolate in them.
Pete reminds us, they can’t see what the other players are doing. But they sure can hear the clinking of glasses! Suzy, who is sure she can’t get by on her iffy take-out ordering skills all week, starts chugging shakes at a pace any sorority pledge gal would be proud of.
But not everyone is drinking. Matt thinks that his team will not drink and besides, he wishes to avoid the politics of having to choose one team member over the others.
Since she started drinking the shots anyway, Suzy decides she needs to go hard and win. Otherwise, she’s taken on a couple of hundred calories from a source she’s not enamored with… for no good reason.
Time’s up – and we learn most players drank nothing. In fact – no one drank except for Suzy, who quaffed… wait for it… 48!! That’s like a shot every six seconds. No wonder Suzy is billed as “the single girl,” who could afford to take her pubbing?
So Suzy wins, but freaks out that she took on so many calories didn’t need. Like, 1,880 more than she needed to win! She thought this was a good prize to win and is feeling sheepish that no one else even tried for it. In an aside, Suzanne is rather upset that Suzy didn’t resist and that “gorging herself “has gone against everything we’ve learned from day one.”
That comment might have carried more weight if they hadn’t cut to a clip of Suzanne devouring an entire animal in the 30-minute binge that opened up this year’s contest. But hey, that’s the “old Suzanne” and she’s moving past that point now.
Suzy chooses Ryan to share her prize. Just what the ladies needed, more division within the team.
Back at the house, Suzy is still upset and is crying to Bob. Mark wonders, “I’m not sure how many calories crying burns.” Bob calls her outside where she sobs, “Now I just feel like an idiot.” She wanted encouragement from Bob, but got “tough love” instead.
For the ladies’ first meal, Bob goes out with them to make menu suggestions. Naturally enough, they go to the old dieters standby, The Cheesecake Factory. No, I am not making that up – of all the options in a hundred-mile radius, apparently the only coupons for seven people that anyone had were not at The Lettuce Farm, but here. For some reason Suzy is there, and gets talked into her salmon being grilled. I think she would have preferred “sautéed in virgin olive oil, shallots and honey mustard,” but, whatever. Shannon makes the Bob-approved choice of pork.
On the men’s side, Matt has dessert and actually gets to eat a bite before Jillian sees it and takes it away and pours salt all over it. So much for dessert!
This week’s challenge is an exciting one, and we’ve seen hints of it in the previews, it involves trains. Host Carolyn Rhea tells them, “Today, you’re going to train on a train.”
Each team will have one person on each car of the train. There are 36 balls (they look like gym soccer balls) at one end of the train, and all must be passed, player-to-player, to the other end of the train. As the train moves, each player will get the ball at one end of their car, traverse the car and hand it off at the far end. The prize is phone calls home, so the players are really motivated.
The ladies get off to a good start, but with about ten balls to go, the men catch up. Many of the cars have pretty narrow walkways, and Pete notices that between him and Ryan, only one can traverse the car at a time. Matt is struggling with his bad leg, but the call home is too important to slack off. What am I saying, as if Matt could ever slack off! Ryan comments that she is always waiting for Shannon to bring her a ball, because Shannon is just walking. Sure enough, Suzanne is ready to pass the last ball to Jen and she’s nowhere to be found. The guys celebrate – “Red Team – Phone home.”
But hang on - right after the challenge, Pete starts to feel nasty. He sits down and says it feels “like a fire in my chest.” Umm, that’s not good! Dr. Jeff is concerned. But when he see two ambulances coming, he says, “He’s not that big a guy!” Funny.
Next thing we know, Ryan is unable to catch her breath – the second ambulance is for her.
Later that night, Ryan returns. She was told it was asthma, plus anxiety. Sympathy levels from her team are noticeably low, and Ryan is disappointed. She wishes her family were there.
Pete returns too, but to loud cheers and hugs all ‘round from the boys. It seems his problem was just due to “a really, really bad cold.” He is cheered by the response he got from his teammates. Some stereotypes about which gender is or isn’t nurturing and supportive are taking a beating in this series!
It’s time for the calls home. There’s a too-small egg timer used to monitor the length of each call. We see parts of the calls from Pete (the “devoted husband”), new daddy Seth (who hears his son has started crawling), and Dr. Jeff. Even in a later cameo, Dr. Jeff can hardly tell us about his call without weeping. All the guys are feeling great that they got to talk to their families, though.
We see the final workouts before the weigh-in. Seth thinks that as the smallest guy, he and disruptive Nick are at risk. On the Blue Team, Suzy and Ryan are worried. Shannon is concerned that eating such different food this week may cost them.
It’s already time for the men to weigh in. Man, this show just flies by! Their starting point is 1,914 pounds. Here are the results:
The total loss is 26 pounds, or, more importantly, 1.35%.
And now, the ladies. Carolyn tells them they started out at 1,307 pounds, thus they need to lose more than 17 pounds. I love the way she does the math so fast in her head! In an aside, Jen expresses doubt and when prompted by Carolyn, Suzy squeaks out some doubt as well. Foreshadowing is very subtle on this show.
So here’s how they did:
Poor Jen looks down at the scale, incredulous that it let her down so badly. Suzanne says, “To see zero would have destroyed me.” So, Ryan needs to lose 4 pounds for them to win. And she’s now 200, a loss of 5 pounds!
Ryan isn’t even sure they won. They did, they lost 18 pounds or 1.37%. Mark had the biggest loss for the men, so he’s immune. Nick is a little nervous; he wishes he’d lost four pounds like the other guys, as it would have been enough to win. Well, Mr. Smarty-Pants knows more than Jillian, doesn’t he?
However, Nick has lost more weight than anyone else, 41 pounds, so he’s not worried. Mark reminds Matt and Nick that the plan was to vote out Seth. It’s because he was youngest and has the best chance of losing more weight on his own. OK, well, that’s not how I’d play it, but whatever. Now, Matt’s very quiet because he knows that after Seth, he’s the youngest man. Matt tells Mark he wants to keep Seth and thinks Nick should have done more. Mark disagrees, he think Nick has some big numbers ahead of him. Clearly, Matt is torn.
The men file into the elimination room. As the biggest loser of the week, Mark has immunity. Dr. Jeff votes first, for Seth. Seth votes for Nick, whom he feels is lacking in commitment. Nick votes for the “Larsen,” which we learn is one who can’t be trusted. And after the commercials, we find out that in this instance, that means a vote against Seth. Umm, was that necessary?
Pete votes for Nick but, surprising me, has nice words for him. Mark changed his mind this afternoon; he votes Nick as well.
Carolyn mentions that if there’s a tie, the ladies will decide. Matt tells us how much he’s agonized about his vote; he’s going to break a promise and is afraid he’s going to lose a friend. He reveals... it’s for Nick, and it says, “I’m sorry” on it. Nick is gone.
Nick opts not to say goodbye, even when re-prompted by Carolyn. Now, Matt realizes Nick is an ass and he made the right vote, and tells us so.
Nick lost 41 pounds in the three weeks. He’s happy he did his own thing, and we see him eating the big steak. He says, “America, the next time you see me, there’s going to be a cover charge and a two-drink minimum.” I can only assume that’s because he’s working in a licensed comedy club, because he looks about the same size and it won’t be as a male stripper.
Nick has shaved the facial hair. In my humble opinion, he looked better with it. Nick concludes, “Biggest Loserwas the worst experience ever. I was called a baby by the trainer. I lost more weight than anyone else there. I don’t know what I weigh now- I don’t weigh myself. I eat healthy and I walk, that is the correct way to lose weight.” He ends by telling us that to find the secret of his diet, we’ll have to but his book to find out. Buh-bye!
Next Week: It’s Vegas, baby! Do they bet their trainers?
In my humble opinion…
The ladies won despite one less day to work out. Funny, the men won when the women had the extra day and vice versa.
I’m not disappointed Nick went. Or surprised - I’d picked him for early exit in my preview article. He was losing weight at a good rate, but this is also a game and he was a disruptive influence on his team. Also, he was the smallest guy, so his ability to keep losing big was going to get harder.
The remaining five guys are a tightly knit group, though I see Dr. Jeff is on the outside of the vote and I think Seth is still at great risk. Besides his youth, he’s also more than 40 pounds smaller than the rest.
On the women’s side, Jen not losing weight and not hustling in the challenge is not good. With the four smaller women all at essentially the same weight, no one is at a disadvantage there.
I’d talk more about Andrea, but she’s “The Invisible Woman” on this show - she gets zero face time! She needs to work on her sound bites!
And… I’m still lovin’ this show!
Join me here each Wednesday for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. And let me know what you think, at the email address below!
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.