The Biggest Loser 2, Episode 8: Look At Them Now!by Brian Towers -- 11/02/2005
Welcome to Week Eight of The Biggest Loser 2. This is 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, the teams were dissolved and reformed as four duos. Most of the men (notably, Mark and Matt) were not happy about that. Tempted by the power to decide how the teams would be reformed, all but Dr. Jeff and Shannon succumbed. Suzy and Seth won a Hawaiian surfing reward. The team of Dr. Jeff and Pete (who led the way last week) had the lowest percentage weight loss, and popular husband Pete was eliminated.
As a reference, these are the contestants in this year’s show are:
THE WOMEN (Blue Team, coach Bob):
THE MEN (Red Team, coach Jillian):
Eliminated, in order:
Before we get rolling, we learn the contestants have lost a total of 692 pounds so far this year. Next, we catch-up with Kelly Mac from last season’s show. She’s down 80 pounds, working out five or six times a week, and looking much more healthy.
This episode begins for real with Dr. Jeff talking with trainer Jillian. He’s discouraged that Pete was eliminated. However, he tells her he’s committed to making the most of his extra chance by doing well. Essentially, he tells her the speech that Jillian was about to deliver to him. Ha!
Trainer Bob had a great idea – let’s all go to the pool for a swim. And sure enough, there’s splashing and joking, and Jillian in a red bikini. Everyone is having a nice time. But all good things must end, and to no one’s surprise (exception: our male competitors), the real plan is for a group workout that’s pretty intense. New dad Seth seems particularly surprised that a place as nice as the pool could provide a workout that was so hard.
The group of seven assembles for the next Temptation. There’s a huge cake, all icing and yumminess and sitting alone on a table. On top it says, “Dig in to find your temptation.” So everyone dives in, both hands, and starts slopping around in the gooey mess. It turns out the cake center is shaving cream. Ex-athlete Matt finds the prize and it says, “Congratulations! You all get makeovers.”
“I don’t think I need a makeover,” says Seth. Diva Shannon quickly responds, “Yeah, you do!” The guys celebrate with a shaving-cream fight. It’s the last time one of them will be happy for a little while…
In a cameo, Matt confesses he has never had a makeover (shocking!) and it’s been a year and a half since his last haircut. “What do you wear to a makeover?” asks Dr. Jeff.
Shannon is glad some of these guys are getting a makeover and is amazed that some of them have never had one before. Neither have some recappers! Inside, hairdresser/soccer mom Andrea knows exactly what she wants. Mark is willing to let the experts do their thing, but Matt is apprehensive and resists almost every suggestion. He’s really a fish out of water here.
Single-gal Suzy was nervous too (also shocking!) but is happy with her results. Shannon and the Doc look particularly nice. Matt looks the same. I think his hair is four months shorter and somebody hid his dirty bandana, but that’s about it.
Next up is a visit to Prevention Magazine. All will be outfitted professionally and there will be a photo shoot. The best one will be featured in an upcoming edition. Matt looks even more uneasy than before, and I’m guessing the winner of that honor is not Matt. Shannon says, “I’m crossing my fingers I have a couple of money shots.” Direct quote, that. As this is a family website, you’ll have to insert your own clever comment(s) here. I’ll leave extra space…
Matt admits he’d rather be home working out. Fortunately, the rest of them make the most of the opportunity. This is a tough call because everyone is looking their best, but I’m going to give the nods to Seth and Andrea. It’s pretty close.
Perhaps the more significant thing is what Andrea alluded to, that unlike when they first came to the ranch, they are now not afraid to get their pictures taken.
Near the end of the process, Matt regrets that he didn’t get his hair changed because it’s a representation of the past he wants to leave behind. Have you noticed that with Matt, change is never good? Most of the pictures taken show Matt with his stoic “root canal” face on. At last, in a group shot, Matt finally smiles, and all cheer and laugh.
The picture that was taken just then is shown, and they all look swell (see the top of this article). More importantly, Matt has made the intended breakthrough, albeit a few moments later than all the others.
We learn that it’s this month’s edition of Prevention Magazine that will have all three ladies on the cover, with a feature article inside.
Back at the house, Bob comes in to surprisingly find Andrea crying. It was her son’s birthday yesterday and she’s feeling homesick in a major way. Bob knows he needs to get her through this, or she’ll turn to food for comfort. He tells us that she can only control what’s going on at the ranch and she needs to let that other life go for now. I think Andrea is going to be OK.
The players are assembled for their next challenge. They have to ride a pedal cab up a hill. You’ve probably seen these bikes on The Amazing Race, in some of the southeast Asian segments (among other places) – the pedaler sits up front, and there’s seating for two behind them, and the seating is covered over as protection against the elements.
At any rate, the first one across a finish line at the top of the hill wins “The Elimination Pass.” With that, you cannot be eliminated this week. We also learn that partnerless Dr. Jeff plays alone.
Host Caroline Rhea tells us that besides immunity, there’s another prize. And to show us the prize, she reveals who is sitting in the back of the cabs. In the first one, it’s Andrea’s husband and Mark’s wife. Funny moment, Mark is so happy to see his wife after two months on the ranch, he gets caught up in the moment, didn’t hear Caroline right, and is wondering who the heck that guy is with his wife! (In case you got caught up too – it’s Andrea’s husband.)
The next cab has Shannon’s daughter and Matt’s dad, the third one has Suzy sister and Seth’s wife, and the last one has Dr. Jeff’s 16-year-old daughter. Awed by dad’s new slim look, she tells him, “You look so good!”
Caroline clarifies that besides immunity, the prize is that the winning team will spend the evening with their loved one(s). Everyone wants to win this one!
Extra pounds of weight are added to the carts so everyone is pulling their own weight. They line up, men in the first row, women in the second. This seems wrong, but every team has a player in the first row, so I guess that’s all right. Matt and Seth see each other as the main competition. Sure enough, Matt breaks into an early lead and Seth is close behind. Poor Dr. Jeff wants it so bad he loses control of his cart and comes to an early halt. Shannon is also trailing badly. As we approach the sixty-yard mark, Seth pulls ahead. By the end, Seth has prevailed. It’s hard to tell, but I think Suzy is a distant third with Andrea and Mark close behind her.
So Seth and Suzy win again! Suzy is so happy she can’t find the words to describe it.
Matt is initially upset, but when he realizes that Shannon is still way back at the bottom of the hill, he recognizes that’s just no good. So he goes back to where they are and has the two of them get into his cab. He then gently pedals them to the end while mom and daughter enjoy each other’s company. His dad pedals alongside in Shannon’s now-empty cab, and the men chat too. Classy move, Matt!
It’s time to say goodbye to the non-winning relatives. As most exchange hugs and positive words, Andrea’s husband says, “I need you back, I need you back.” Sure enough, she says, “I realize that where I’m valued the most isn’t here, it’s at home.” Dude, don’t be selfish, this is not about you and definitely NOT what she needs to hear right now. This time is about her, not about you… and you knew that going in!
As she is busily being shown about the ranch, Suzy’s sister Sandy notices Suzy is a new person. She says she “has a glow about her” and seems happier. The winning foursome makes dinner together, and the conversation is all about calories. Get used to it, family – that’s the new way of things at dinnertime at your house!
The relatives meet the trainers next. Bob has wonderful things to tell Sandy about Suzy. Seth finds the visit revitalized him, but unfortunately, it’s time for the relatives to go home. There are weeks of work ahead yet!
The next scenes are of everyone working out. Matt thinks the team of Andrea and Mark are the ones to beat. We’ll see. I’m impressed how hard everyone is working out. No one’s dogging it in this group!
Let’s get to this week’s weigh-in. Similar to last year, there’s a yellow line on the chart that will divide the winners from the team whose members are in danger of elimination. There’s room for the names of two teams over the line and one team below it.
Again this week we see before-and-after split-screens of each person. All I can say is, it’s wonderful how well they’ve done and I can tell from my mail that we’re proud of all of them.
First up is the team with the Elimination Pass:
Lucky they are exempt! After two weeks of low numbers, have they hit some kind of a wall?
OK, on to the teams that are at risk:
I see the magic “200” is looming for Shannon. Together, they have lost 12 pounds as a duo, or 2.53%.
Next up, the team with the fewest members:
He’s his own team, so the percentage for him is 3.40%! He’s safe for next week!
Now for the last team. They need to lose more than 11 pounds between the two of them:
This is a bit of a surprise to me. Although Andrea is doing very well but has not lost weight as quickly as the others on a consistent basis, Mark has put up some big numbers in previous weeks. Their three-pound loss is just 0.66%, and they will be facing elimination.
Most of the numbers were a little lower this week – but any loss is a good loss! Dr. Jeff wins the weekly title of “Biggest Loser” and will no doubt (since we didn’t get to see it) hoist a flag. Immunity-wise, that title no longer means anything, though.
The players all come together to discuss the situation. Channeling her husband no doubt, a weepy Andrea makes the appeal that she doesn’t want to stay in the game as a pawn who is easy to beat. If that’s the case, she wants to go home. In case there was doubt, Mark says he wants to stay.
God, more quitters in reality shows – come on, get some Canadians on these shows, we won’t quit!
In a series of cameos, we learn that Matt wants his friend Mark to stay. Matt thinks both Mark and Dr. Jeff won’t vote for him, so he’s going to go a lot farther keeping them around. Contrarily, Shannon thinks that if Andrea is eliminated, “Suzy and I might as well kiss this game goodbye.” It will be interesting to see how that team votes.
Everyone files into the Elimination Room. Dr. Jeff casts the first vote for himself, and although he knows Mark is a threat to win, he didn’t care for it that Andrea was ready to quit. It’s a vote for Andrea.
Suzy casts the Seth/Suzy vote for Mark, because he’s a threat. Usurping Caroline’s job, Mark says, “One and one!”
So Matt and Shannon have the deciding vote. Matt is visibly upset, so you know where this is heading right away. He tells us they couldn’t agree how to vote, so as a team, they finally decided to vote out Mark. Matt starts to blubber, and everyone knows this was hard for him. Mark tells him, “Don’t worry about it,” several times. He says he understands that Matt had to do it, and they’ll be friends after the game.
Matt says, “I lost 87 pounds, I’m leaving here a winner as far as I’m concerned.” He had the highest percentage of weight loss to date. Mark has a big hug for all the men, especially Matt. We’re not sure if the “dirtbags” partake or not. If so, it isn’t shown.
Mark reminds us that last week he said, “You have to play the game,” and continues, “So for me to be mad at Matt, that would be hypocritical.” He admits that he never expected to make such deep friendships at the ranch and promises he’ll be between 190-200 pounds the next time we see him.
The next scene is Mark arriving home. There’s a warm reception. He finds a letter Matt slipped into his suitcase, apologizing again for voting against him. Mark says, “Matt, I forgive you, man.”
In more current footage, we see Mark zipping by impressively on a bike. He’s gone from his initial 358 pounds to a healthier 228, for a total loss of 130. He looks good. They rerun part of his audition video, showing him in his squad car with his gut right up to the wheel. Now, there’s what looks like well over a foot of gap. Also, his bulletproof vest fits properly. One can’t deny, he’s done a great job of taking control of this aspect of his life.
Next Week – no more teams; one will face their biggest nightmare; and a weigh-in that will leave you speechless. Well, last week they said, “a favorite goes home,” and we lost Mark instead of Suzy or Matt, so grain-of-salt that info.
My Own Thoughts: What an interesting juxtaposition we have, cops eliminated in both Survivor and Biggest Loser this week. Only one thought the other contestants were “dirtbags” and likened them to the street scum he meets in his job. I’m impressed by Mark’s weight loss and his friendship with Matt, but it pretty much ends there.
I got some other interesting mail last week. Several thought my opinions of Matt were too high. Interestingly, going into this week he was the contestant most people thought would win on the NBC site poll, with 29% of the vote. Suzy and Dr. Jeff were second, both at 14%. Mark had 7%. I know that “think they will win” is not the same as “most popular,” but as a rule people don’t vote in the network polls for people they don’t like.
I will admit that Matt is less pleasant when he’s not winning. He didn’t do well at makeover this week, but he was only hurting himself. His treatment of Shannon and her daughter after they lost the challenge more than made up for that in my eyes.
Well, that’s it. Join me here each Wednesday for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. Readers, lots of things going on here, I’d be interested in your opinions – let me know what you think at the eAddress below!
Brian lives in Toronto where he can be reached at email@example.com. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.
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