The Biggest Loser 2, Episode 9: Will the Big Winner be the Biggest Loser?by Brian Towers -- 11/09/2005
Welcome to Week Nine 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, everyone got a makeover and had a photo session. Cute, but hardly what this series is supposed to be about. Seth and Suzy again won the reward of family visits when Seth won the pedi-cart race (where the heck was the word “pedi-cart” when I needed it last week?). The team of Mark and Andrea had the lowest percentage weight loss, and despite Andrea’s pleas to send her home, Mark the cop was eliminated.
As a reference, the contestants in this year’s show are listed below.
THE WOMEN (Blue Team, coach Bob):
THE MEN (Red Team, coach Jillian):
Eliminated, in order:
Before we get started, we catch-up with David from last season’s show. He’s down to a powerful 185 pounds, having lost 80 pounds in all, and has dropped his body fat from almost 50% to 14%. He proudly shows us his “guns.” Good going, Dave!
This episode begins for real right after the last weigh-in. The players are uncertain what format the game will take now. Host Caroline Rhea informs them there are no more teams, it’s every person for him/herself. Matt prefers that. Caroline has the big chart display where everyone stands to date, with their initial weight, Total weight loss and overall percentage. After the fourth name is the familiar yellow line. The chart looks like this:
It looks like Shannon and especially Andrea are in trouble. However, Caroline has another surprise. Those numbers are meaningless. Future eliminations will be based on only the most recent week’s results! Matt doesn’t like that, but Andrea thinks it’s fair.
My guess is that that they made the change because last year, Ryan built a near-insurmountable lead and “coasted” to the win. Therefore, they tried to come up with a system to counteract that.
Unfortunately, this system is much worse! This sets up the very probable scenario that if you have been doing well but have one “bad” week, you’re gone. This group is doing so well that the definition of “bad” could be pretty steep… like, only losing ten pounds!
Very probably, the winner of The Biggest Loser 2 will not be the biggest loser of weight over the course of the show. Very, very poor planning!
Well, be that as it may, we must carry on. The next day the trainers come to meet the contestants to learn that Mark was gone. Jillian gets weepy. The players relate all Caroline’s changes to them. Jillian likes the elimination of the teams so she can focus on the individual needs of her three guys.
The trainers decide it’s time for some fun – and it’s outside, to a pair of dunk tanks with the two trainers on the hot seats. Really, it’s Temptation time. For each ten-calorie candy eaten, a contestant gets one try to dunk their trainer. Matt quickly calculates he can take 13 tries, and still keep within his daily caloric limits. Jillian keeps saying, “No, Matt, those are empty calories!” but he’s having none of it, and on his third try, he dunks her! Even more efficiently, at the other tank Andrea dunks Bob with her first pitch!
Meanwhile, Suzy thinks it’s fine that Andrea is taking on extra calories. Cattily, she wishes the candies were more than ten calories. Umm… that’s so you can have an iota of F-U-N, Suzy! All I can say is, thankfully there are Andreas and Matts there, because how boring would it be if no one even tried to dunk a trainer?
Later in the day, Suzy is calling for Matt. Last week, after most of the makeover and photo event was over, Matt regretted not having his hair cut. Suzy has been a hairdresser for ten years, and she’s about to help Matt out. Suzy admits he looks good, with highlighted facial features and more confidence. And you know what – he does! He looks much younger. OK, Suzy’s a good girl again, and we forgive the catty candy remark!
He shows off his new look to the other. All are shocked, in a good way. Andrea yells, “Oh my God!! You look hot!” and Shannon says, “You clean up good!”
Matt says it’s the first time he’s had a haircut where he didn’t feel like “a big fat pig” afterwards. He recognizes this is all part of letting go of his old life. Matt thanks Suzy for helping him take that step.
With a challenge coming, Bob comes to get the ladies. He wants them to jog to “the big gym” to practice jumping. Shannon says her foot hurts, and doesn’t get the sympathy from Bob she wants. Who among us viewers doesn’t sense an impending diva moment? She confronts Bob loudly, and disrespectfully says, “You’re supposed to be my trainer, and…” and doesn’t get to finish that sentence. Bob is in fact quite offended and says, “Please don’t tell me I’m supposed to be your trainer, I AM your trainer!” In a later aside, he says, “When she said that to me, it was a huge slap in the face.”
In the gym, both teams are jumping about in all different manners like the floor is lava. Quite impressive, really.
It’s later in the day now, and challenge time. As they come to wherever the heck they are, Caroline compliments Matt on his hair. Blush! Caroline announces that the winner of this challenge gets immunity at the next weigh-in, plus that high-tech exercise bike worth $2,300 that went unclaimed when all resisted the temptation of a slice of cake in week six.
Today’s challenge is called “the ultimate jump rope.” What looks like a set of six trapezes (except with rigid sides and break-away bars at the bottom) swing in a continuous loop about them. If you can’t picture that, the contraption is a bit like a big jump rope that automatically swings about them like a big jump rope. Shannon decides that a little pain is secondary to the immunity.
Dr. Jeff is out first, and the rotation of the bars speed up. Most of Shannon’s landings are on one foot and although I never jumped rope a lot as a kid, I think she’s at somewhat of a disadvantage. Andrea goes out next, and then Suzy. More speed on the bars, and Shannon goes out.
After 15 minutes, Seth and Matt get to experience maximum speed, about one second per revolution. In an aside, Matt admits he was getting tired. In his own aside, Seth says he wanted to win very badly. And after the commercial, we see Seth mis-time a jump, and Matt wins! He wins the bike, and more importantly, immunity.
As the players meet with the trainers afterward, Shannon says she didn’t want America to see her give up. She lasted over nine minutes. Bob is impressed with her willpower.
Jillian has a chat with Dr. Jeff, because she’s afraid he’s due for a plateau week. They have an extra workout together, and she’s relentless. Meanwhile, the three ladies are working very hard with Bob, and Seth is also working hard with Jillian. Andrea is especially confident she has had a good week.
But not Matt. Matt realizes he’s in a good position. He decides to cut out his last workout and ups his calorie intake.
I totally agree with his decision, assuming the calorie level was “upped” and not “multiplied.” I also think he should hydrate as well by drinking good fluids. This will give him an extra pound or two of “soft” weight to lose next week, increasing his chances of lasting longer in the game.
Already it’s time for the weigh-ins. Exempt Matt is first, and he’s… UP 12 POUNDS!! Wow, Matt, I hope this works out for you!
On the chart where results are posted, there’s room for the names of three competitors above the dreaded yellow line, and two below. Here’s how they did:
The most incredible news is that Dr. Jeff has now lost 100 pounds! He is so happy, he forgets what his numbers meant for this week’s elimination.
Suzy had her best weight loss ever. She hasn’t been this light since ninth grade.
Andrea is frustrated that her five-pound loss was, by comparison, insignificant. Well, to anyone at home, five pounds is Nirvana, but this is a tough, tough league.
Dr. Jeff is very subdued relating his 100-pound news to the trainers. Jillian shrieks in joy and gives him a big hug. Nice!
Bob has a much bigger challenge, motivating Andrea and Shannon to keep fighting. In one-on-one chats, Shannon tells Bob she doesn’t want to go home. Andrea is sad and tearfully thanks trainer Bob profusely, she’s sure she’s going home.
Everyone files into the Elimination Room. Suzy tearfully casts the first vote. She says she votes to help herself, even though she’s betraying a friend. Barely able to talk amongst the tears, she squeakily votes for Shannon. Seth is voting out a threat… Shannon. Dr. Jeff is impressed by both women and votes to keep the one who will push him the most – so, he votes for Andrea.
Caroline explains that if there’s a tie, Andrea will be eliminated because her percentage of weight loss is lower. And it all comes down to Matt again.
Matt has wonderful things to say about both ladies, especially Shannon. He calls her a role model for those who are disadvantaged but pick themselves up and moved on. “There IS a life after hard times,” he concludes.
However, Matt votes Shannon off. That’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t seem possible that Andrea is going to win, for even in her best weeks she’s been overshadowed by the amazing weight losses of the others.
Shannon feels that for the first time, she has control of her life. Big hugs all round!
Shannon has lost 57 pounds at the ranch. The next scene is Shannon arriving home, where the whole family waits. Her daughter is proud of her. The whole family is super-sized, but Shannon will be taking care of that, I’m sure!
In more current footage, we see Shannon jogging. She’s down to 170 pounds, an overall loss of 87 pounds since the show began. Her cute face is now evident, and she has a nice figure too. Diva!
Next week – will Matt’s gamble pay off? And, there are only two more episodes before the live finale.
My Own Thoughts: This show just keeps getting better and better. Here’s a pair of interesting items:
(1) It has been announced that the show has been renewed for next season! Applications for The Biggest Loser 3 are available at the NBC site. Good luck to all who apply!
(2) An item from the MSNBC site tells us that the big scale that they get weighed on – that’s just a prop, it’s not really weighing them! Weigh-ins are held beforehand, backstage, and that big screen is just a pretty display device hooked up to a computer. However, the contestants do not know their number until they step on the prop and Caroline tells them the results, thus their reactions are genuine.
So now we know how Caroline does all that arithmetic so swiftly without even using a pencil! Also, we know that people taking of shirts, shoes, and whatnot is strictly for effect and has no bearing on the results. For all we know, they get weighed buck-naked!
Well, that’s it. Join me here each Wednesday for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. Readers, thank you for the interesting feedback last week, I see interest in the show remains strong. I’m still very 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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