The Biggest Loser 3, Episode 11: Thin Contestants, Bloated Showby Brian Towers -- 12/08/2006
Welcome to the eleventh episode of The Biggest Loser 3! This series focuses on overweight contestants and their struggles to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. Challenges and temptations bar the way to a $250,000 cash prize for the contestant who loses the greatest percentage of their original body weight.
As it has been announced that the finale is next week and four contestants will be in the finale, this week features the most painful elimination of the season. In addition, this is a two-hour episode, with the first hour allocated to some painfully brief and repetitive reprisals of earlier events, adverts for the Biggest Loser Club, and a feature about obesity in school kids.
I feel a rant coming on. I agree that obesity in kids in a terrible problem and needs to be addressed. But that’s hardly why we tune in. What I object to is having a 45-minute documentary shoved at me pretending to be an episode of a top-rated show. If you want to address the issue, fine – but do it properly.
I refer you to the excellent multi-part series Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners for a fuller examination of ALL SIDES of the problem. Yes, it was based in London, but the ugly statistics are all the same. It showed that the costs of providing McFood is lower and that even when presented with healthy alternatives, kids don’t choose them. There are other issues at work here, and all the blame does not fall completely to the schools.
I’m guessing that at this point, many viewers are thinking, “Just feed my kids better.” There’s one source of income for the school system, and one only – so every reader who thinks they should be paying more taxes, email me your home state, email address, and the number of voting-age-adults in your home so I can forward it to your respective congressman.
OK, rant over.
So, teen angst notwithstanding, we’re going to do a skim of the first part of the show. Action starts at two high schools, the alma maters of Kim and last season’s winner, Matt. Small teams of five or six kids will embark on a mini-Biggest-Loser program. Here’s what they want you to know:
Scenes shift between Kim’s school and that of last season’s winner Matt Hooper, who is accompanied by his trainer and friend, Bob Harper. A high school picture of Kim shows us she was a pretty good looker back then as well. I like the big hair. Alas, we don’t get to see what Bob looked like back in high school. Matt looks a little bigger than the day he won his title.
Bob tells his audience that if they leave today with only one message, it should be “Don’t quit.” He explains that quitting is a habit that one falls into easily.
Both trainers introduce about a half dozen kids from the crowd that they will be working with in a mini version of the Loser challenge. Bob’s group includes Homecoming Queen Brittany. All the kids have good reasons to lose weight.
In a teaser of the show I thought I would be watching, a 30-second clip recaps Erik’s time at the ranch. What follows is the 30-second story of Cindy, a member of the Biggest Loser Club. If you don’t know about the Club, you can read about it at the show’s website. A perpetual bridesmaid (literally), she could never get motivated until now. So far she’s lost 82 pounds. Good for you, Cindy!
Back in school, it’s time for the kids to experience their first Biggest Loser workouts. We learn that young Kandace hopes to avoid the need for insulin shots, and Ryan is tired of being shown up by his 52-year-old dad when they ski. Wait, is that really so old?
Next, a 15-second teaser of the show I want to be writing about is aired, featuring Wylie. Then, in our next filler-clip, we meet Romy from the Biggest Loser Club. Looking real good, she has lost 68 pounds after improving her eating habits. Good for her.
Back at school, Bob visits the cafeteria to see the crap kids eat at school these days. Mostly, it’s pizza and breaded chicken. Today’s vegetable is tater tots, and the dessert menu is even uglier. Bob admits there’s nothing at the cafeteria that he would eat. Over the summer, a wellness program has gone into effect and Bob is pleased that some positive steps are being taken. His suggestion is to be more aggressive, though.
Kim has a similar experience in her cafeteria. She also finds nothing she would eat. A server tells Kim that when they have healthy options, they don’t sell. Finally, some truth!
The next morning, Bob sees the standard school breakfast. It looks like a McMuffin accompanied by a lot of fried stuff. Again, it’s head-shaking time for Bob.
Wow, lookee here – another 20-second bit about the real show. This one features Kai.
Corey is our next Biggest Loser Club story. He has gone from 299 to 215 pounds and has been able to meet a “special someone” – good for you, Corey!
The kids are on their own now, trying to stick with the program. They miss chocolate and fries, and hate running. Gosh, who could have predicted that? However, some of them are really getting into the program.
Three weeks later, it’s time for results. Kim finds her kids can now run a lap about the track, and they are proud to have done so. She can tell their confidence has increased as well.
Meanwhile, Matt is checking up on his team. He wants them to run ten laps at their own pace. They do it well, and Matt is proud of their accomplishments.
The next scene is a surprise for the kids. It’s interactive video games, where the player moves their body to control the action. Very cool! There’s also $15,000 for the phys ed departments of the schools
Heather is featured in our next recap of a show I used to watch called The Biggest Loser 3. And, buoyed by many commercials, recap clips from every episode retell the story of the entire season and fill up the 15 minutes remaining in the first hour. Perhaps I’m soured by this non-show, but I see nothing here worth retyping.
We’re finally, finally in the part of the show I care about. It begins with everyone working out very hard. In a funny scene, Erik is pushing Bob up a hill in a hand cart. He switches it around to be pulling Bob instead, saying, “I’m tired of looking at you.”
Bob says if Erik goes home, “I’m out of a job.” Well, I’m pretty sure he’d be getting paid anyway, but does he really think they would ban him from the finale because all his charges were eliminated?
In the kitchen, Kim tells her squad she’d like to get in a couple of sprints before they eat. Heather has an ankle/foot injury and balks at participating. We know it’s real, because last week she passed on a challenge that could have won her a visit from a family member. No one would stay out of that challenge if they weren’t really hurting.
Kim accuses Heather of slacking off, and then Heather tells Kai, “Obviously, she (Kim) doesn’t care, and she’s not listening. So, screw it.”
Sure enough, a heated discussion follows between the two. Kim says to Heather that after eleven weeks, Heather still doesn’t trust her. In a cameo, Heather says she doesn’t feel Kim is putting in the time to find alternatives exercises for her. In her own cameo, Kim promises us that when she feels Heather is slacking off, she will “get in her face.”
Off by themselves, Heather explains the motion that hurts her and tells Kim, “You’re so full of ** bleep ** if you think I’m making up this crap.” Obviously, Heather is from the non-Mormon part of Utah. I must say that accusing the trainers of not caring and not working hard enough carries little weight with me.
A frustrated Kim says, “You know what? Do your own thing!” She again questions whether Heather is doing her best, and the response is, “For you, I guess not, Kim!” Walking away, Kim tosses off, “There could be more, Heather,” and Heather again insists she’s doing her best. Now about 20 yards away, Kim ends it with, “If you know that in all your heart, that’s great,” says Kim.
Kim strides into the gym, takes a look at Jaron and decides she needs to unburden – to Kai. Kim tells Kai she could win if she keeps working hard. That makes Kai nervous.
Meanwhile, Bob repeats a hike they did back on day one, where Erik almost didn’t make it and it brought him to his knees. Today – no problem. Bob assures him several times that he can win this game. I’m impressed when Erik holds a push-up position with Bob kneeling on his back for a count of ten!
In the next scene, it’s “Train The Trainers” time. As with previous years, there’s no mercy shown, nor much expected. Erik says their objective is to bring the trainers to exhaustion. After Kim shows she can walk on her hands, Bob shows off by doing some back flips. To his chagrin, Kim does them better – there’s obviously some gymnastic training in her background.
In a cameo, Bob says, “This is more than a competition. It’s about fixing what is broken. It’s not about winning $250,000.” Actually, I think it’s about both.
In the next scene, last season’s winner Matt and finalist Suzy return to the ranch. We see Matt propose to her live on The Today Show (regular readers know they are now married). Today, they have come to inspire this season’s cast. Wylie calls it, “Surreal” to meet them.
Matt informs the contestants his weight started to go up and it was a reminder to him that he’s accountable to himself to get it under control. Suzy tells them that when they get home, they have to transition regular training into their lives. Matt says they look great, but their efforts are not complete until they get home and make those changes. Wylie tells us he’s looking forward to going home and sharing his knowledge with others.
Series hostess Caroline Rhea is on hand for a challenge she calls “The Biggest Loser Triathlon.” She tries to sell it as some sort of reward, but none of the contestants are buying it. Wylie is sure they are trying to kill him. Kai tells us she broke her arm riding a bike as a 12-year-old, so she’s understandingly apprehensive about the bike phase.
Caroline gives us the details of the race – a 200-yard swim, followed by a five-mile bike ride, then a one-and-a-half-mile footrace. Trainers are on site to encourage the participants. There’s no mention of a reward.
Initially, Wylie is struggling mightily in the water, lagging badly and in slight danger of drowning. In an inspirational moment, the others wait for him to catch up. They have decided to complete this final challenge together, as a team!
The trainers join in the bike ride. Kim hangs back to encourage Heather, who tells us they patched things up between them. Again, they all finish together.
Unable to run much, Heather aggressively power-walks the running phase, and she does pretty well. She is last, but she’s hustling all the way. The three guys make sure they finished in a tie, thus there is no clear winner.
Every one of them is proud of their accomplishment, and, sweaty and wet, they group-hug Caroline Rhea. Ick! There’s one outfit you can probably get on eBay!
It’s time for another visit from Dr. Robert Huizenga, the show’s medical expert. He’s here to see Erik. Erik was “insulin-resistant” when he came to the ranch. Now, that is no longer true and although he still has diabetic tendencies, he is not currently considered a diabetic. That’s real good news!
The intensive “Last Chance Workouts” are next. Kim would like to see her group as the final four. Bob reminds us that Erik is fighting to keep both of them in the house. It’s all about the trainers this season.
It’s evening, and time for one last set of ranch-based big-fake-scale weigh-ins. Again this week, the two individuals with the worst results will fall below the dreaded “Yellow Line,” and those two will be up for elimination.
The chart that follows shows the results after the final competitor was weighed.
So, up for the final elimination are Kai and Jaron. There are no clips of anything that happens before the Elimination Room scene this week, as the vote is very predictable. Sure enough, Wylie votes against the threat of Jaron, and Erik also votes against the new guy. Heather’s vote is not shown, but she would not be voting out her friend Kai.
This means the evil threat of the Gray Team is finally banished from the game! It was a smart vote, because he was winning the game so far. However, Erik is clearly the one with a lot of weight he can still lose and if they were trying to win the money, they’d have done to him what he did to Marty and the others and voted out the biggest threat.
Jaron had to know this was coming. He respects that the others voted him out because of loyalty to Kai.
For your perusal, here’s a chart showing where the finalists stand as they leave the ranch. For your information, Jaron’s numbers are 106 pounds lost, or 32.82 percent.
Caroline Rhea congratulates the final four and tells them they’re going home for “several months” to work out on their own, then come back for the live finale. I think the timeframe is three or four months, but don’t quote me.
The final four say goodbye to the trainers. Kim’s four come out first, one at a time. Kai leads it off, wearing a top still not right for her. Faced with a cutout of her original self, she laughs long and loud. Next up is Wylie, who has an enormous hug for Kim. She tells him he smiles a lot more now. Heather taps the cutout of her old self and says, “Poor kid!” She appreciates the unexpected, positive emotional changes that have happened.
Kim says, “It feels really good to have three of my original team in the final four. Three out of the four? Not bad for the new girl!”
Erik and trainer Bob are up last. Bob calls Erik “new and improved.” When he sees his cutout, Erik is emotionally overcome. He reminds Bob, “You said you were going to save my life, and you did.” Asked what he sees looking at his old self, Erik says, “I see sadness in his eyes, because I was unhappy in my own skin. I hated being that big.” Bob says, “That man needed to be here at the ranch,” and adds that his 124-pound weight loss at the ranch is a record. I’m doubtful that number can be topped, but who knows?
Bob expresses how proud he is of Erik, but Erik gives Bob the credit. More man hugs follow. Erik says, “I’ll call you tomorrow, because I miss you already.”
As the show ends, our quartet is shown arriving in limos at their homes. Understandably, they are excited and nervous. I expect this is where the final episode will start off.
In The Mail: There was a little more feedback on my campaign to eliminate the gaining of weight on purpose. Instead of instant elimination, one reader suggested that any weight gained has to be lost before further weight loss is calculated. In other words, if you go from 210 to 213 to 205, the second loss would be calculated as a loss of five pounds, not eight. I think that has some merit.
In Conclusion: If you have any thoughts you’d like to share about this week’s episode (or pretty much any topic), let me know at the eAddress below. Otherwise, join me here next week for a recap of the finale, sprinkled as usual with my own observations and opinions.
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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