The Biggest Loser 3, Episode 2: Beach Party!by Brian Towers -- 09/28/2006
Season 3 of The Biggest Loser! is gaining momentum. This series focuses on teams of overweight contestants and their competitive struggles to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. Challenges and temptations bar their way to a nice prize – $250,000 cash. This week, we have a second two-hour episode to enjoy, so let’s get right to it, shall we?
As a checklist, here are the current competitors:
BLUE TEAM (Trained by Bob)
RED TEAM (Trained by Kim)
Mysterious Hidden Voice announces that last week, Jen was the first one to go home. He adds that so far, 206 pounds have been lost by our contestants. I’m impressed!
The episode begins with the teams returning to their lodgings after the initial dismissal of Jen from episode one. Copious Temptation food has been laid out – will they indulge to salve their depression? Hardly!
The two teams discuss the elimination together. Kai of the Red Team says, “Apparently, I have no heart.” To herself, she admires how the Blue Team works together and wishes her team were like that. Tiffany of the Blue team doesn’t see the Red Team as “united” or as “a force to be reckoned with.” Cue The Irony God of Reality TV…
The Blue Team is pretty cocky. Although I don’t use a scorecard, virtually every member records a similar video entry. They figure they don’t need to worry about the pressures of elimination because they are never going to lose. I wonder how this is going to turn out?
Early the next morning, Red Team trainer Kim greets an uninspired Red Team. To their credit, everyone is up, waiting, and sort of awake. Kim is determined to pass on her positive energy and gleefully announces, “We’re going to train at the beach this week!” Pam and Kai are open-mouthed, but the team doesn’t verbally respond at all.
Meanwhile, Blue Team trainer Bob makes the same announcement to the Blue squad and is greeted with an enthusiastic round of “Woo-hoo!”s. Melinda is excited to see the beach, and none of them seem to be aware that a workout in sand is harder than a workout on a stable floor. Well, they’ll learn.
On a more serious note, Red Team’s Ken finds out his son is in the CCU (Critical Care Unit) of his local hospital, due to an infection that’s probably related to a recent operation. Obviously, he’s upset. Kim realizes that Ken must decide whether he is going to stay at the ranch or go home to be with his family. Ken decides that to get his mind off the problem, he wants to go and work out. Both teams assemble for a group prayer. Nice touch.
As the teams come outside, there are four sexy vintage sport cars (two red, two blue) ready to take them to the beach. Working through his pain, Ken calls out, “I got shotgun with Kim!” The valiant cars are overloaded and one hubcap from Bob’s car comes flying off. All laugh.
The optimistic Blue team seems to think they are in for a day at the beach. Even that turns out not to be true!
Bob quickly teaches his team that everything sandy is not sunny as they learn how hard it is to crawl through the sand. The “crab walk” in the sand looks especially effective, and especially painful. Later, Bob proves that anything at all can be a workout aid as he utilizes some lengthy driftwood logs.
Along similar lines, Kim decides a circuit workout might be an appropriate diversion, where the same exercises they do in the gym are repeated on the beach. She has convinced her poor minion Pam that gym workouts are “about a thousand, bazillion, bazillion times better than working out on the beach.” Wylie is getting his share of attention from Kim, while big Erik has most obviously caught Bob’s eye as one to be pushed.
The trainers send their charges down the beach. Bob says, “Remember, if you play, you pay… and you do not want to pay ME back!”
It’s our season’s first Temptation Challenge! Bob is confident his team will be strong.
There are twenty nifty sand castles on the beach. Under each is one of three possible treasures: chocolate worth 175 calories, a carrot stick worth 30 calories, or… one Immunity! The teams perk up at mention of that last option. Each person has the opportunity to dig as many or as few times as they wish.
Some want to take the risk; others are not tempted, but at the end no one gives it a try. Pam is hardest to convince, but she’s smart enough to realize that the team support drove her to the right conclusion. Both teams figure they’ll get Immunity by winning the weigh-in.
As the contestants trudge back to meet their waiting trainers, they are pleased that their teams made the right decision. I’m just happy no one destroyed any of those terrific sand sculptures!
With a slightly mischievous grin, Trainer Bob announces it’s time for a BBQ. Kim relates that an average BBQ meal runs about 2500 calories, minimum. Bob offers that there are alternatives, and introduces a healthier burger option with a butter-flavored spray (no fat or calories) spritzed on, for flavor.
Bobby of the Blue Team figures his BBQ skills will keep him safe from future eliminations. Is he kidding? Does he foresee a lot of that in the weeks to come?
Trainer Kim tells us romaine lettuce has up to four times more calcium than iceberg lettuce. This I did not know! She also reminds us that fat-free mayo is 76% better (calorie-wise).
After a post-meal campfire, the teams camp out at the beach. Yes, it’s a day on the beach… and more!
This week there are several short features of the 36 home contestants, called our “At Home Contestants.” First up is Adrian of North Dakota. In a video entry taped after three weeks, she’s weepy, feeling alone, and sure she cannot make it. Luckily, further video shows that she has pushed far past that point. Although still a little damp-eyed, she’s down to her high-school size and is aggressively jogging along the beach. Good for you, Adrian!
The nest morning Bob takes his team through a series of yoga exercises. Bob decides his body does not bend that way, but Melinda does. Everyone does their best, though.
Stealing a page from Bob’s book, Kim decides the Red Team also ought to do some yoga. Nelson is not a Yoga fan, and he’s not alone. Kim warns them that their giggling will last until they weigh in.
Finally, she decides she’s had enough and it’s time to get tough. She hollers at them to start some aggressive cardio work. Kai admits she doesn’t respond to yelling. Me either, that style just doesn’t work with me. But when you sign on to do this show, you have to expect to get yelled at. I think perhaps it’s Kai but I’m not sure, who says during one exercise, “Do you think she’s noticed we’re fat?” Ha!
Kim says, “My team complains so much because it’s habit, it’s what they’re used to, it’s what they’ve done for years, and that’s why they look like they look.” In an aside, Wylie yearns for Bob’s softer approach at this point. Kim tells them, “If you guys want to lose the weight, you can. If not, you can go sit up there and watch Blue Team lose it.”
I like Kim!
It’s time for the next “At Home Contestant.” Ken is in North Carolina. He feels that because he was sent home he hasn’t completed his purpose. Ken is very focused, and he has a bright green shirt as his item of inspiration. Already he can wear it, but I bet he’s going to go much further than he has already. Good for you, Ken!
Over forty minutes into the show, series host Caroline Rhea makes her first appearance. It’s time for a challenge, and Caroline promises it’s the toughest yet. Fourteen feet above them is their team flag, and they need to build a sand hill tall enough so they can grab it. The motivation will be a care package from home of mementos and other personal items. Oh boy, that did it, she has everyone’s full attention now! Additionally, the winning team will decide which member of the Blue Team will not count towards the team’s total in the weigh-in.
The Blue Team picks Ryan to sit out, because he has a bad knee.
The teams start to pile up sand for their challenge. The sand is really loose and doesn’t seem at all cohesive. In fact, it takes twenty minutes before anyone can stand on a two-foot file without it collapsing.
After thirty minutes, they decide they should jump off their pile to get the flag… but it’s not even close. In fact, the attempt falls a couple of feet short and is so hopeless, it’s counter-productive. Equally lame (or foolishly optimistic, depending on your point of view) attempts continue until we’ve reached the hour mark. The Red Team has cleverly decided to reinforce their sand pile by lying against the sides of it.
About that point, Heather says, “I don’t care if you jump on me, Nelson,” after one of Nelson’s unsuccessful attempts he lands on Wylie. Caroline calls a halt to the proceedings to ensure he’s OK. Now, I watched this in slo-mo and although it had to hurt somewhat, Wylie seems to be looking for a lawyer or an ambulance and overreacts big-time. Sorry, bud, gotta call what I see. Although they enjoyed the rest period, I think the Blue Team got hosed here.
But back to the challenge. At six minutes after the hour, both teams try again and miss oh-so-closely. Before the jumpers even stop rolling, some unidentified female (not Pam) screeches three times, “Get back up there!” Nice.
But all good things come to and end, and after that last jump, you know it’s imminent. Both teams pile up a bit more sand and the tall boys remount the piles for what will prove to be the final jump. Both squads exhibit excellent teamwork, sacrificing their bodies as ladders and using those bodies to keep the sandpile as high as possible. However, Blue Team never pulls the trigger, and Red Team wins!
Significantly, the Red Team celebrates in two gender-defined groups. Blue Team members are devastated, but several are gracious in defeat and congratulate the winners.
The Red Team sits on the beach and enjoys their mail from home. Everyone cries tears of joy. One of the items is a teddy bear Wylie gets from his mom. He’s concerned he doesn’t tell her she’s his hero often enough. Nelson got a great letter from his son, and Kai gets a loved toy from an autistic nephew. Tears abound and, needless to say, everyone is very grateful for the packages from home. Pam thinks the experience made their team stronger.
Now, news of another “At Home Contestant.” In the last three months, John from Arizona has gone from 356 pounds to 276. He found it initially hard to be his own trainer. He gets the news from his doctor that his diabetes (diagnosed at the ranch) is now a “diet-controlled diabetic” and does not need to take medications.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (I love typing that phrase!), Wylie says the best part of the beach was “leaving it.” A nicely-coiffed Kim is happy to see her team return all smiles. Meanwhile, Bob tells Blue Team he is sorry they lost, but advises they move on and win the weigh-in. Following footage indicates they have decided to dig deeper and do just that. Bob tells them that working out releases endorphins, and that improves one’s mood.
In the housing areas, both teams find their “goal clothes.” The Red Team’s women have all selected jeans and tee shirts. Another reason to bond! Kai also desires to wear stiletto heels. Saucy! The Blue Team’s findings include Brian’s wedding ring. Melinda has lingerie from her sister’s boutique, which she’s never been able to shop at.
If there’s a God in Heaven, keep Melinda in this game!
In the kitchen, Bob comes up on his team and announces he’s proud that they are eating correctly. He suggests the use of multi-vitamins to keep their energy up and fill in for possible dietetic shortcomings. OK, that WAS a commercial, but the advice is still rock solid.
The most frenetic, intense workout of the week is always the “Last Chance Workout” that precedes the final weigh-in. Blue is very dedicated, yet Red is hustling double-time. It is truly impressive how hard and effective both teams are!
Have The Irony Gods of Reality TV been sated by the oh-so-close loss of a challenge that lasted over an hour, or is there more to come?
The weigh-in begins with the Red Team naming Erik as the one whose loss will not count. He gets weighed first, and he’s done well, going from 391 to 375, a nice loss of 16 pounds. Both teams applaud. In the following chart, he’s marked with an asterisk to indicate his numbers didn’t count toward the weekly results. Listed alphabetically, here’s how the rest of weigh-in went:
I note that technically, at least twice an understandably over-excited Caroline Rhea awarded victory a little early this week to the Reds. With one person to go, it was technically possible that an emotionally distraught Ken might have gained 3 pounds and the Red Team had lost. No, it didn’t happen, but, “It’s not ‘til it’s over.” We have had early-season gainers before, one remembers…
I have one more thing I want to point out – look at the other team while their opponent’s results are being announced. Except for the moment when they lose, the Blue Team applauds the Red Team, and the Red Team appears to be getting a root canal. Act like adults, can ya? Everybody wins who loses on this show!
As the biggest (percentage-wise) loser on the losing Blue Team, Marty is exempt from elimination this week.
It was a good choice to choose Erik, who had the second best week of anyone on his team. One notes that Melinda has had, by comparison, very modest gains in both weeks and in a team that doesn’t seem to have weak links, must be in some danger of being sent home.
My personal congrats go out to Bobby, who broke through the significant “300” barrier this week!
Back in the mansion, when trainer Kim returns to see how the Red Team did, they meet her with faux-sour faces, they report minimal (and untrue) loses… then explode with glee, telling Kim that they won. She was totally faked out!
Meanwhile, Bob hears the bad news from his squad. He gets them to focus on the positives, namely, that they’ve lost as much weight as they have. In a set of separate cameos, no one on the Blue Team is ready to go home. It’s going to be a tough decision, but looking at the chart above, we see which percentage was lower, and things don’t look good for Melinda..
The team maturely discusses as a group what the criteria for dismissal might be. Gross loss, percentage loss, and moxie are offered forth. It’s emotional for them, and very, very honest. Rallying, “Forever Blue!” they say (rather half-heartedly), as they march off to see Caroline in the ever-dreaded Elimination Room.
Caroline “welcomes” the Blue Team to their first elimination. It’s obvious these seven have truly bonded and no one actually wants to cast an eviction vote.
Melinda leads it off with a vote for Tiffany. Tiffany is next, and she returns the vote. Again, both speak well and without malice. Bobby says this is even harder than the workouts, and votes to send Tiffany home.
Brian decides to vote for Tiffany, saying she’s strong enough to complete the task at home. Amy makes it mathematically conclusive as she says she feels sick to be voting out Tiffany. Erik and Marty’s votes remain undisclosed.
There is no specific indication of this at all, but I strongly suspect the Blue Team continued their adult behavior and told Tiff she was the one going home before they got to the Nasty Room. I base this on the fact that no one seemed the least bit surprised by the votes as they spilled out.
Me, I think they made a mistake. I’d have voted out Melinda. It’s not that Melinda’s numbers don’t top 96% (OK, 99%) of what we viewers might experience, but in this group, she’s the lesser of many terribly strong people.
In complete contrast to last week’s elimination, there are tears and hugs for Tiffany. No one is happy they sent her home, and everyone rises as she departs.
We catch up with Tiffany in Texas. She’s happy to be spending time with her kids and promises to make Bob proud.
More current video indicates her team was wrong as she has apparently plateaued about fifteen pounds lower than her final ranch-weight. You go, Tiffany, we are all behind you!
The Biggest Loser 3 is mercifully reduced to an hour next week (8PM ET/PT). Join me here for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. Do let me know what you think about it all at the eAddress below!
As Requested: In response to those who asked about my interview with the Navy Wives from the Special Edition versions of the show, here’s a link to that discussion. Even if you didn’t see that particular show, there’s special insight into what it’s like to be on Biggest Loser and for fans, it really is a must-read. Really… a must-read! All of “The Wives” were honest, open, and direct with me, and the resulting read is most worthwhile!
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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