The Biggest Loser 2, Episode 10: “I’m Not Going to Live My Life According to a Yellow Line”by Brian Towers -- 11/16/2005
Welcome to Week Ten 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 disbanded and everyone is now on their own. After some early fun with dunk tanks, Matt won immunity in a skipping-style challenge. He had a plan to make this week easier for him… he was going to gain a little weight. Unfortunately, he gained a surprising twelve pounds! Shannon and Andrea were the ones who had lost the least, and it was diva Shannon who was eliminated.
As a reference, the contestants in this year’s show are listed below. We’re down to the final five!
Eliminated, in order:
This episode begins with Bob, Suzy, and Andrea talking. Soccer mom Andrea is feeling sorry for herself because no one takes her seriously. She is destined to fill the role that Mo did last season – the person who doesn’t lose weight as quickly and is not regarded as a threat to win.
What, she’d be happier if she got tossed from the show? I don’t really get it, so let’s move on.
It’s time for the trainers to use the limited hints they’re given to prepare the contestants for the upcoming challenge. Jillian says it’s about, “Endurance, strength, balance, focus… in a bathing suit.” Dr. Jeff knows he’s in trouble when “balance” is involved, but he’s working hard at it nonetheless.
Meanwhile, Bob has chosen a yoga workout for his ladies. Suzy admits, “I hate every minute of yoga,” because her mind wanders. Both of them are holding some good positions, though. Too bad “flexibility” wasn’t in that laundry list of desirable characteristics!
Back in the gym, Jillian starts giving ex-athlete Matt a hard time about not working hard enough, and Matt is getting petulant. She knows he’s not focused and that he has a lifelong tendency to sabotage himself at the last moment. Jillian gives the three men a chance to quit the workout, and when Matt does, a discouraged Jillian shakes her head in dismay.
Off by himself, Matt realizes his problem and is determined not to quit. He decides to take a hike to think things over before returning to Jillian. Finally, they talk. He starts with misdirecting complaints about being sick of the equipment, but shifts to the truth. What’s behind Matt’s behavior is actually that he’s terrified that returning home to the life environment he failed in before. He admits to alcohol problems and says he’s “terrified of going home.” Jillian gives him a pep talk. We’ll see how it works out.
Maybe this show needs a psychologist, as Matt’s not the only one of this group who eats for deep-seated reasons that I don’t really see being addressed. It’s certainly issues beyond the scope of what the trainers ought to be expected to handle.
It’s time for the weekly Temptation. There’s lot’s of carnival food like cotton candy and popcorn, and a skeeball machine. They’re going to play a specially labeled skeeball machine. Anyone who decides to play and hits the right target has a chance to keep another competitor from partaking in the next challenge. However, an errant play will mean eating some of that rich carny food.
Jeff and Seth are interested in the food. Andrea is interested in the food too, but more so in controlling the game.
No one wants to be the first one to say they will take the temptation. Andrea is mighty anxious to be second one in, though. But in the end, everyone resists. The risk was really high, and the reward wasn’t really worth it. Smart decision. And now you know why I didn’t explain skeeball a little better!
It’s time for the next challenge. Host Caroline Rhea informs them they’ve been at the ranch for almost three months, and the winner of this challenge will get to spend the night at the new Sheraton Delfina hotel in Santa Monica. What’s second prize, two nights? Do I hear a rim shot? I looked them up – three stars out of five.
Caroline also delivers some bad news, that the winner of this challenge no longer gets immunity at the next weigh-in. Ahh, so that’s why Caroline didn’t call it “the Immunity Challenge!” However, the winner will have earned the right to assign two extra pounds to another player.
The challenge works as follows – each player grabs a column that is swaying above the pool, and hangs on tight. Last one hanging on wins. The columns are about 18 inches in diameter, with about a one-inch platform ring around the bottom to stand on. I’m liking the ladies’ chances, I think they have the smallest feet. Dr. Jeff has about size fourteen triple-E clodhoppers, he can only get his big toe on the bottom ring. After just four minutes, he’s the first one into the water. Dr. Jeff really had no chance at all – the foot supports should have been based on the variable size of the individual’s foot.
Matt starts rocking the whole structure by pulling on it. No one comments, but I think it’s funny. A couple of minutes later, he jumps into the pool. Three people are left.
Seth tries to talk to Andrea, but she’s in yoga mode and doesn’t acknowledge him. I notice that that little ring at the bottom somehow supports much of her foot. Time passes slowly. At the forty-minute mark, Seth is suffering and soon enters the pool.
We’re down to the two ladies. Time continues to pass. This is not the most riveting TV I’ve seen all week. Forty-five minutes passes, an hour, more. Eventually, Suzy looks like she’s getting a cramp, and despite struggling mightily to overcome it, into the pool she goes. Suzy falls rather clumsily, whacking herself in an unmentionable manner on the bottom of the column. Andrea is happy she won and felt she needed to show the others that she’s a competitor, too. “Finally, I have a little power,” she says.
What Andrea doesn’t know is that waiting in the suite is her husband Billy. Gosh, I guess all concerned are lucky Suzy didn’t win!! Oh, wait, I get it now…
Billy sneaks up behind Andrea in the room. Fortunately, she’s not startled and gives him a big hug. Billy tells Andrea he supports her, something we didn’t exactly see in the pedi-cab event. Although he says he’s tempted to put her in the car and drive off, he now understands that this is important for her. Better, Billy! It looks like Andrea is going to get the proper support this time, and reenter the game refreshed and regenerated.
It’s last-chance workout time. Man, they are working hard! All express concern that they may not lose enough weight. However, Matt is confident.
And wow, it is already time for the weigh-in? Where does the time go? Andrea decides to assign the two pounds to Dr. Jeff. She says it’s strategy. I don’t get it, but whatever. I’d give them to a lighter person, because it would represent a higher percentage of their weight.
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 do:
There are some milestones this week. Seth has lost 80 pounds so far, Suzy 61 and Matt… 99! Matt’s stoked and feeling vindicated over last week’s decision.
Everyone was shocked that Dr. Jeff only lost three pounds, as it’s the first time he’s lost less than ten pounds. He needed to lose eight to stay above the yellow line. Humbly, he says, “I lost weight, that’s what we’re here for.” When the two-pound penalty is applied, his loss percentage is recalculated as 0.37%
Caroline points out that if Suzy had been given the penalty, Andrea would have beaten her as well and been above the yellow line. Girl finally gets some power, and wastes it. Andrea says, “I’m not going to live my life according to a yellow line.” Ahh, now I see what she wasn’t on screen much in the early going. But we all know Andrea isn’t being eliminated.
In a touching scene, trainer Bob tells Andrea that he’s not worried about her if she goes home. He smiles at her in a very supportive way and she interjects, “Is now a bad time to tell you that I ate brownies last night?” Ha! We see her taking them out of her temptation fridge. That’s incredible – I never knew they’d ever trapped anyone with these fridges before. I mean, how fresh can those things have been?
Bob is dumbfounded. Andrea has trouble admitting how many she ate, but Matt rats her out, chiming in, “Nine!” Ha, again! She denies “nine” so unconvincingly, I must assume it was more. Bob is disturbed that Andrea would do that. As he tries to deliver a supportive but stern lecture, she hangs her head. Lord, whatever possessed her to ‘fess up?
Walking with Jillian, Dr. Jeff is fatalistic about his impending elimination. He’s lost 103 pounds so far, and says, “I got my life back.” He gives Jillian a big bear hug, and she is temporarily invisible from three camera angles.
It’s time to vote, and all file somberly into the Elimination Room. Suzy casts the first vote. No tears this time. She informs us she’s playing strategically now, and casts her vote against Dr. Jeff.
Matt is up next. He calls Jeff, “The most selfless man I ever met.” Matt goes on to say, Jeff is losing weight to inspire his patients and always credits his weight loss to his teammates. Along with his parents, Jeff is now one of Matt’s heroes. However, Matt knows how to play the game and also votes against Dr. Jeff.
So Seth’s vote remains a mystery and as expected, Dr. Jeff is done. Jeff is proud of the words his new friends have said and doesn’t feel like a loser at all. Big hugs for all. After he kisses Suzy, Matt is last and says, “I don’t want any kisses!”
We get Dr. Jeff’s funeral video, and it’s a tear-jerker. He calls himself, “The luckiest man in the world.”
The next scene is Jeff arriving home the next day, where the whole family waits. Everyone is in red. Jeff’s daughters are very proud of him, and by the time he hugs his wife he’s a puddle of tears. Jeff is a rich man, in the things that matter.
In more current footage, we see Jeff racing his wife up a hill. He’s down to 240 pounds, an overall loss of 130 pounds since the show began. He’s not done yet, but it’s an understatement to say he looks far healthier and happier than the man we first met.
Next week: It’s the last episode before the live finale. One challenge involves climbing straight up a tower, wearing a backpack weighted the same as the weight they’ve lost to date. From what we can see, Matt seems well ahead of Andrea.
Then they are all sent home to lose weight on their own. They show clips of Matt walking with both trainers, then both women doing the same think. Does this mean Seth is out? Who knows?
In the finale, all the cast members will be back. Suzanne looks like a pin-up model!
My Own Thoughts: This show just keeps getting better and better! Dr. Jeff was so likable; it’s a shame he had to go home.
I’ve no idea how the finale will work and the champion crowned, but since they’ve already changed formula this year, here’s one idea: what if the finale were based solely on the weight loss occurring during the three months at home, instead of from day one? After all, the real winner is the one who can best translate what they learned at the ranch into the real world – so let’s run the game to reward the same objective.
Well, that’s it. Join me here each Wednesday for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. Thank you again to those readers who gave me feedback last week, it was, as always, valued. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.
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