The Biggest Loser Special Edition: Engaged Couples II – Nick and Lael vs. Bruce and Kimmiby Brian Towers -- 02/10/2006
Welcome to the latest episode of The Biggest Loser: Special Edition. This series pits two teams of overweight contestants in a competitive struggle to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. This “Special Edition” version of the show features small teams with some kind of special relationship – this week’s folks are engaged couples in their thirties. This week, the entire story arc plays in one night in a special two-hour episode.
Before the credits we briefly meet Nick and Lael from Hawaii, and Bruce and Kim from California. Kim is upset she bought a wedding dress she can’t fit into, and all four want to look a lot better for their wedding that they do now. Well, hostess Caroline Rhea, play that exciting Heather Small theme and tell me more!
They do. Bruce and Kimmi met in 2002, at work. A picture shows us she was really cute then. Currently, Bruce has a kind of David Crosby-ish look about him. They have been renovating their house for a while now and because of it they eat out every night. Since that started, Kimmi has put on 60 pounds. Kimmi has a lovely wedding dress picked out, but she’s despondent that she’s far too big to wear it. Bruce has his own motivator – his father passed away at age 59 from weight-related concerns.
Cameras at Bruce and Kimmi’s place show them receiving a pizza delivery. One wonders what story they were told to justify a camera crew filming sure a rare event in their reno-stricken home. But it’s not pizza, it’s a DVD from Jillian to tell them they are on the show. They are thrilled, but perhaps a little bewildered as to what happened to the darn pizzas they ordered.
In Hawaii, we hear from Nick as he tells us he used to be an avid bike rider, and we have video confirmation from 2001. These days, he doesn’t ride. Lael’s mother had heart attacks at age 43. We join them at the beach where they celebrate their engagement with friends. By the look of his pale, pale skin, Nick may not have spent much time on the beach before. He’s even whiter than the sand! Anyhow, there are dudes with ukes and there are leis and hula dancers, it’s the whole nine yards. One of the hula dancers presents them with a DVD message “from the Biggest Loser” – there went the surprise. The message is from trainer Bob, with a similar message to Jillian’s. They are excited at what’s ahead.
Their adventure begins as hostess Caroline Rhea greets both teams at the ranch. Nick has had a haircut and I’m sorry, I know no one else who looks like that. I hope he didn’t pay a lot for that cut. He describes himself as, “more aerodynamic.”
Caroline reveals tables of bad foods that the couples must say goodbye to. Some of those grins indicate they think they will be eating those foods, and they have great fun in claiming certain items as their own. Kimmi figures she and Bruce could down it all in a week. Nope, this show doesn’t work that way. Instead, Caroline is going to make them have their initial weigh-ins. The only good news is that the prize is a $50,000 “dream wedding.” I’d rather have the cash.
From the quick look we get, it seems like both guys are about the same size, including prominent guts. Of the women, they have similar shapes but Lael is much the smaller of the two, perhaps four or six inches shorter.
First up on the scale is the Blue Team, and Lael is leading the way. She’s starting out at 164 pounds. Nick, who announces he was a former triathlete, checks in at 251 pounds. One of their goals is to run a triathlon together before their wedding.
Bruce, sporting about a dozen tattoos, will be starting off at 267 pounds. Kim is at 215 pounds, yet tells us, “The heaviest I’ve ever been was 170.” Um, well that had to be a couple of weeks back, or am I wrong?
Caroline announces that the winner of the weigh-in (by percentage of weight lost) at the end of the stay at the ranch will win a honeymoon.
As the couples return to their cottages, they discover several motivational items have been placed there. It’s their dream-sized wedding outfits, plus there are a lot of pictures on the walls. It’s going to be a long haul!
A graphic indicates that the time at the ranch this time was twelve days. It’s never exactly the same duration, is it?
The trainers come running up to meet their teams. Jillian screams for her team to come out, and takes them right into the gym. Initially gung-ho, Jillian knows they are in for a rude awakening.
One thing we know from previous shows is that Jillian doesn’t like to hear the word, “Can’t.” On the treadmill Kim wants to use the handrails, and Jillian won’t let her. When Kim says she might fall off, Jillian says, “Are you going to fall off? That’s a shame. Keep walking. If I was you, I would really try hard NOT to fall off!” She adds, “Welcome… to hell!”
We’ve seen that trainer Bob likes to take his team on a mountain climb on the first day, and this week is no exception. Bob knows that Lael’s cholesterol needs to drop as soon as possible because she’s at dangerous levels. She finds it tough going keeping up, but no one stops when she wants to and Lael is forced to keep going. To her credit, she does.
In the kitchen, Bob passes on some good eating advice to his team that can be applied when they eat out. There’s a grilled skinless chicken breast at 150 calories, salads, some nice looking veggies and some healthy (six calories per ounce) salsa. Missing is gravy, special sauce and slabs of processed cheese.
The teams are assembled outside for a Temptation Challenge. There are two large tables with many plates of food, one with red plates and one with blue. A card listing the grams of fat and caloric content contained in that serving accompanies each. They are directed to eat the food on a plate and stack the plate in a central “winner’s circle.” The winner of the challenge is the team who places that last plate of their team color in the circle before the light on a “countdown clock” goes on. The timer is situated where they can’t see it and set to an unknown duration.
The prize is a wedding gift of video equipment, which Bruce really likes. Kimmi is determined not to do it, and so is Nick. Bruce agrees reluctantly. However, Lael jumps in and eats a 26-calorie piece of carrot cake and puts the plate into the circle. Bruce is wavering, and in a few seconds, matches her. Nick goes third, and except for Kimmi, they trade pig-outs until they eat over 400 calories per team.
Lael is enjoying her spring rolls a little too much, and as she savors one the time runs out and they lose. I count ten plates in the circle!
Kimmi is glad they won but concerned that Bruce consumed almost 500 calories. That’s one third of the day’s allotment! Good thing she didn’t see that after the game was over he was still chewing and swallowing!
Nick blames Lael for the loss, and is still grumpy back in the cottage. Lael thinks she’s satisfied her craving for sweets, but I don’t think so and neither does Nick.
It’s only six days until the weigh-in. Bruce wakes up in pain and is reluctant to work out. He and Kimmi call the gym “Jillian’s House of Pain.” On this day Jillian has to keep pushing Bruce to work out as he’s stalling and delaying as much as he can. Jillian says, “He was sick, he was dizzy, I’ve never seen anyone turn that shade of green before, ever.” Jillian is able to get Bruce working out again, but she might be right about his skin tone.
Meanwhile, Nick and Lael are also challenged by Bob’s workouts. However, they are extremely supportive of each other. I think Lael needs that a lot. These guys must be in love, because even in pain they can’t get those goofy grins to go away.
It’s time for another challenge. This one involves assembling six tiers of a huge wedding cake, with the tiers hidden about the rose garden. The prize is that for the first month back home, all meals will be prepared for them and delivered to their house. This is a great prize!
Caroline cryptically tells the men that they’ll have to get used to their wives being in charge and they must listen to their future wives. Yes, the men will be blindfolded.
Both teams start well and aren’t arguing. There’s the usual walking into bushes and Lael says “right… I mean, left” more than once, but it seems to be proceeding rather smoothly. Maybe next year they can also shoot at them with chocolate paintballs to increase the confusion? Things are pretty even until the Blue Team pulls ahead with the addition of the fourth layer. Everyone is smeared with some icing by now, especially the men. Neither woman can see over the cake to give directions any more, and it’s getting pretty heavy for them to carry.
The Blue Team gets their last layer and returns to the finish table. Lael thinks they are about to place the cake on the table but didn’t tell Nick, and they almost dump the whole shebang into the table! Luckily, they recover and they win. He rubs icing in her hair.
In a show of fortitude that Survivor: Guatemala’s Jamie Newton would have loved, the Red Team finishes the challenge anyway. They only lost by about ten steps. Nick figures he learned a lesson today, namely to be less controlling and to stop and listen to Lael. Yeah, that’s easy to say when you have icing on your ears…
Back in the gym, it’s the last workout before the weigh-in. Both teams are sweating and grunting appropriately. Bruce’s effort level has impressed Kimmi, and the Blue Team is trying hard to keep up.
Okay, they’ve toweled down and it’s weigh-in time. Remember, the prize is a honeymoon, and we learn the destination is Jamaica.
The Blue Team is up first. Lael leads off, and she’s quite happy that she has lost a very creditable 17 pounds! Nick follows that up with his own fine loss of 27 pounds. Both have lost a similar percentage of weight, and their combined percentage is 10.60%!
Caroline informs the Red Team they need to lose more than 51 pounds to win. First up is Bruce, who has lost 23 pounds of his own. That means that Lael must have lost more than 28 pounds to win. And her loss is… 14 pounds. She’s disappointed that they didn’t win the honeymoon but still happy to have lost all that weight.
Their percentage was 7.68%. Wow, the first team weighed finally won one! What tricky editors these guys are! It’s also a big win for a Bob-trained team. The difference is a fairly wide three percent. We’ll see if Red Team can overcome it.
It’s time for the teams to return home, so we need to replay a bunch of scenes accompanied by the series theme song. On to part two!
The second hour begins with another recap of what we just saw and preview of what we are already committing to watch. Why? Fast forwarding…
As usual, the living rooms of both teams have been changed into a gym. They also have new refrigerators stocked with the correct food, plus inspirational videos from their trainers. Both teams are very appreciative of the gifts, and inspired to win the big prize.
Only one week after returning home, Bruce and Kim meet their friends at a Chinese restaurant. Good for them, they are able to resist temptation and stick with the steamed veggies and chicken instead of the sticky rice.
You may remember that Lael and Nick are getting their food delivered in the first month. It adheres to their regimented calorie intake, which is about 1500 a day for Nick and 1200 a day for Lael. That snapper in Creole sauce at 410 calories sure seems good!
We next see several video diary entries. Bruce is concerned about driving himself hard enough, and Kimmi is challenged by comfort foods. I wish they’d asked me to go to Hawaii to tape for the Blue Team – alas, it did not happen. Lael reports they are not losing weight.
Back in California, Kimmi decides to visit her wedding dress. She doesn’t try it on yet, though. We can see that her jeans are falling off her, though.
One of Nick’s objectives was to run triathlons again, and to do so with Lael. He takes her to the park for some bike instruction. Apparently these are different than road bikes. There are a lot of giggles for both while she gets the hang of it.
Nick tells us that before he went to the ranch he felt, “Exercise is overrated. Something I didn’t have time to do. Now, it’s a necessity. I find myself craving the exercise. It’s lowered my stress level, and I feel really good about myself.”
Lael is starting to look good, even though she’s up at 5:45 to record an entry about a mini-triathlon they’ve entered.
Some time later and in California, we see Kimmi and Bruce visit the florist to pick out floral arrangements. There’s one presentation Kimmi really seems to like, and she’s even more surprised to see trainer Jillian behind it! Jillian is impressed that both of them are really looking significantly better. So naturally, Jillian takes them to the gym for a celebratory workout.
Jillian sets the treadmill for Bruce at eight miles an hour. He has a huge grin on his face, so she cranks him up to ten… then eleven miles an hour! Surprisingly, he can handle that too. Jillian reminds him (and us) that two months ago, he almost expired on a treadmill at the ranch that was on a far lower setting. She tells them they need to be proud of what they have accomplished.
Back in Hawaii, and at 3:48 in the morning, Nick tells us they are on their way to a triathlon that starts at 6AM. We learn that this particular race is a swim of a half a mile, a 26-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run. That’s not “mini” enough for me, my idea is more the line of walking through a puddle to drive to the mall and walk inside from the parking spot next to the one for the pregnant mothers. At noon!
At any rate, who’s there to greet them at the start – trainer Bob! This is exciting for them, and throughout the race he constantly roots them on. Lael was a little worried about the bike phase, which she expects to be most demanding. There are some nasty hills on this route, but Nick is supportive and happily, they finish together with Bob jogging alongside. Very inspirational!
Back in California, Jillian wants to see the wedding dress… on Kimmi! She is reluctant, as she didn’t want to try it on until she was sure it would fit. And as Jillian zips her up, it’s apparent that it fits nicely. Kimmi is understandably overcome with emotion, and they hug. Jillian realizes the dress will actually be too big by the time they get married in a few months.
With six weeks to go, both teams come home to find they have a “Biggest Loser-gram.” We now know that it contains a current picture of the other team. Both teams thought they were winning easily but find that their opponents are indeed doing very well. All are determined to redouble their efforts. Bruce and Kim decide to burn the picture, symbolic of turning the competitive heat on them.
We’re sneaking up on the end of the show, and it’ time for the final workouts. That equipment is spinning like crazy as all four are really kicking butt. They’ve all had quite the transformation.
OK, the preliminaries are finally over and we’re on stage in Hollywood with series host Caroline Rhea in front of a live studio audience. Initially they stand on opposite sides of a dividing mirror.
Kimmi says she’s going to cry and hostess Caroline jokes, “You’re allowed to cry. Crying is weight loss through water.”
Then, the mirror is lifted and the teams see each other. All four run together to hug each other. Aw-ww! These are four nice people.
Kimmi reports that she’s twenty pounds too small for her wedding dress and will have to get a new one! Bruce says their honeymoon will now be activity-centered, involving hiking or kayaking.
The trainers are brought out to observe the weigh-ins. The Red Team is getting weighed first – that’s not a good sign, the first team up never wins. Kimmi gets up there first, and she has lost 60 pounds – pretty fine work, there! But Bruce has lost an astounding 94 pounds, or 35.21%!
Combined, their total loss is an impressive 31.95%. As Caroline informs the Blue Team they must have lost more than 132 pounds to win, I have to say it looks like this one is going to be close.
Lael leads off, and she’s done extremely well, dropping 43 pounds, or 26.22%! Wow, not bad at all! That means Nick needs to have lost more than 89 pounds. He has lost 68 pounds, nice work for sure but not enough. In actual fact, these two lost percentage wise very slightly less than Kimmi, but Bruce’s mammoth loss was the difference.
The stage erupts in a sea of red-shirted hugging people. Congratulations also come from the losing Blue Team.
We close out with some video from the weddings. Kimmi and Bruce married January 28th, 2006 and it looks like a dream wedding to me. Lael and Nick were married outdoors on October 15, 2005 in a Hawaiian-themed affair that also looked very nice.
My Own Thoughts: Of all the Special Edition stories, this one might have been well served in two parts. These people all seemed easy to root for, yet in one night they’re gone.
I’ll be back with Biggest Loser 3 later this year (dates unannounced). Let me know what you think at the eAddress below!
Brian lives in Toronto where he can be reached at email@example.com. He likes to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email!
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