The Biggest Loser 4, October 30: Losing Focus?by Brian Towers -- 11/01/2007
Last week, the teams were disbanded, and Jez won the right to reform the players into groups of three. That completely backfired for him, as Neil took on an astronomical amount of weight, and Jez was sent home. Tonight, the website promises us “the season’s most emotional elimination round, yet.” Given the tears we’ve seen already this season, I shudder to think what’s in store, both tonight and as subtly implied, in the weeks to come.
The show begins with the players filing out of the Elimination Room. No one is talking to anyone. In a later cameo, Neil says, “I’m not a bad guy; I’m not a malicious person. I did what I had to do to help myself in this game. If you don’t see this as a game you are being naïve, and that’s how you end up going home.”
My response/rant to Neil is short and simple, and I will try not to go down this rat-hole again after this. But here goes: Neil, I understand exactly what you are saying. I write about Survivor and other shows where such behavior is applauded. I do not believe I am naive. But, it was an inappropriate behavior in this setting.
Neil, you may not even have been at risk last week. It was gamesmanship for the purpose of gamesmanship only. It disrespected the game, and it disrespected all who are associated with it.
To that end, I have proposed you for inclusion in the Reality TV Hall Of Shame for your senseless and deplorable behavior. No matter how that process works out, I will always feel that you belong there for these actions. The money is not the big prize for you on this show – your life is. I don’t know, why don’t you see that?
Okay, rant over… let’s get back to the show.
Everyone walks away from Neil, and he soon sits alone. David tells the camera, “I think Neil really learned a hard lesson. I’m sure he feels kind of alienated from the majority of people in the house. Bout right now, he needs to know he did something wrong.” Does David need to be reminded that his vote was critical in condoning Neil’s actions?
As they walk off together, Julie asks David if he knew of Neil’s plan. He says he did not, and had he; it would have changed his vote. Julie seems to accept that reply. Her own feelings are that when she gets to vote against Neil she will write “for Jez” on the card, and do so without remorse. She tells David that she hopes Neil gets what’s coming to him.
Neil, shown alone but speaking in cameo, insists he liked Jez and it was not a personal thing to have him voted out. Instead, he saw a game play opportunity and took advantage of it.
The original Black Team ladies meet to discuss things. Isabeau tells Hollie that Neil ought to steer clear of her, while Hollie can’t believe Kae sacrificed her integrity for Neil when she doubts he would do the same for her. Isabeau decides that Neil can lose the weight for the team this week, while she takes it easy and heals her hip. Great, more game play in lieu of improving one’s lot in life. At least Isabeau isn’t hiding what she’s doing, though.
We next meet up with Kae, also talking to a camera. She says that she’s not sure she wants to be here anymore. In fact, as Amy watches, Kae tears down all her pictures, packs her gear, and walks out, ready to leave the game As we go to the first commercial, it’s safe to say the general mood at Campus is not good!
Bob has his first-after-the-vote talk with the Blue Team. Boy, I do not envy Bob right now – because the message he’s been sending out over the last couple of months has apparently fallen on a few deaf ears. Bob says to the team that he was fully prepared not to see Neil today, and both he and Neil say they didn’t think it was going to be Jez going home. Um, okay. But I think Neil knew exactly who was getting the votes.
In a rare cameo, Nicole confirms for us that although she thinks Neil made a bad decision, she still voted pro-Blue when it counted. She confirms that “it was a little ugly in the house” last night, and that the others were giving the whole Blue Team the cold shoulder.
Kae (whose presence belies her earlier threat) confesses she almost went home, because she could not handle the game play and lost her focus. In a cameo, Bob tells us he has to get his team to focus on moving ahead. In yet another cameo (wow, tons of these tonight!) Neil knows he messed up and wants to try and redeem himself.
The scene shifts, and Neil tries to talk to his partner and former Red Team member Isabeau about how he sees things in the game, in an attempt to smooth things over with her. Isabeau is not buying what he’s selling. She says she understands it’s a game, but adds that what he said is easy to say when you’re not the one who’s been hurt. She faux-limps out and tells him she hopes he can lose a lot of weight, because, “I can’t move.”
It’s a few seconds later, and as Isabeau strolls sprightly past, Kim preaches that she hopes her team can avoid the drama and focus on losing weight. Gawd, I’d like ANYONE to do that about now! Seriously, show me a low-sodium Shreddie!
At any rate, Kim seems to have missed the point that, had David opted to vote against Neil last time, Neil and the associated stress would be gone and we’d all be talking about the correct way to perform a crunch, the benefits of granola, and other such healthy stuff.
To cement the issue, in a cameo Kim’s Red Team member David says, “It’s not about game play or alliances. It’s about staying here as long as he can by doing the right thing. If I have to get to that point at some stage of the game, then I have to. But up to this point, I haven’t done that…”
Hollie knows that she’s a target now, but Jillian tells her team not to pout or sulk, because there’s no other choice but to do their best. Jillian tells us in a cameo, “We have our integrity, and that’s what counts.” It’s notable that Red Team Amy, who now trains with Jillian, sits about five yards apart from the others and is clearly not a part of this rally.
Jillian says, “My team has been functioning with integrity,” which is a swell segue to a separate discussion between former Red Team member Amy and her new trainer Jillian. Amy, overwhelmed with guilt, admits to Jillian that she was pressured by Neil to avoid losing weight last week, and that she capitulated to the pressure. Jeez-zus, get a spine!
Amy further confesses (confirms?) that it’s a Red and Blue Team alliance against the Black Team. I think Jillian figured that out last week, except Jillian likes to call recent voting “assassination.”
Further, Amy reveals that the back-up plan to Neil drinking Lake Huron was for Amy to also tank the weigh-in. If her team had lost, Black Team’s Bill would have been the one voted out. A tearful Amy now wishes she had done her best.
Jillian implores Amy to focus on her own self, and says, “I need you to be as dedicated to you as I am!” Jillian should be proud that, however uncomfortable it was, Amy knew that confession was the right thing for her to do.
Back in the gym, Bob has Neil in his sights. He tells him in a “no uncertain terms” tone, “You do know that I’m going to be riding you really hard, right? And you’re going to take everything, right? This is definitely not the week to ask me one question, all right?” It’s pretty obvious that Neil is going to be feeling the pain this week.
Meeting in the kitchen, Hollie asks Jillian if she can reduce her caloric intake. As the camera cuts back, we see Isabeau eagerly awaiting the response as well. Jillian tells them both that they need to make every calorie count, and drinking calcium-rich milk is no mistake.
Series host Alison Sweeney finally makes an appearance, perhaps coming on-screen later than on any previous episode. She’s here with an endurance challenge. Simply stated, each team must suspend an amount of weight equal to their team’s weight. The last team still holding their support ropes wins.
Alison is coy about the prize, telling the contestants only that it will change the course of the game.
This is one tough, physical challenge. Gotta say, the ability to enter a Bob-ish Zen trance might be an advantage. The dueling duo of Isabeau and Neil are first out, and then the team of Bill-Amy-Julie falter scant seconds later.
Kae is determined her team must stay strong, but in time, the squad of Bryan, Nicole, and Ryan persevere. “Two Blues won!’ shouts Nicole excitedly. I must say, given how sensitive everyone is, it may have been a poor time to emphasize the color of your jerseys.
The prize is indeed a worthy one. Instead of a single team vote, team members will get to cast their own vote at the next elimination. The one rule is, this team needs to insure they are not the ones below the yellow line. What a great prize!
It’s cute that Bob is so happy that the Blue Team (or a subset thereof) has finally won a challenge. When Bob hears the prize, he knows the importance of keeping his team safe so the prize is not lost. He rewards the gleeful, smiling faces that are facing him with the promise of extra workouts. Those lucky dogs!
It’s time for a break from all the drama, as Kim shows David how to steam fish in a microwave. Nifty! As it’s really an ad, you’ll need to go to the NBC site for the details. Suffice to say, David is impressed with his salmon!
But let’s shift the scene again, out to the yard. While doing yoga, Bob tries to re-inspire Kae by telling her he’s proud of what she’s accomplished so far. Bob seems to think she’s feeling pressure about maintaining the pace of her impressive weight losses, but I suspect she’s really more concerned that game play has not completely left The Biggest Loser Campus! As the scene ends, Amy confesses to us that she trusts Bob deeply. A big hug follows, and Amy seems ready to face the game ahead.
At the last-chance workouts, I see a whole lot of people doing things I cannot do. Kim is pushing her troupes hard, and David is sure he’s put in sufficient effort. Neil is still feeling Bob’s wrath, so we know he’s appropriately sweaty. Bob says, “Neil totally disrespected the scale, and it’s all about him getting back on the scale’s good side.” Some may laugh at that, but I know my own scale is especially moody on Mondays.
In a last minute cameo, Neil says that he wants to have a good weight loss to show that he can be trusted again, that he’s not here to throw another weigh-in, and that he’s not here to keep playing games. Readers, how do you think that will that work out?
At the weigh-in, Alison reminds us once again that teams will be ranked by the percentage of weight lost. There is a Yellow Line on the results chart, with room for three results above it and one below. The members of team that falls below that dreaded Yellow Line are up for elimination. Here are all the results:
No one responds when Neil loses 33 pounds. It was almost eerie how deafening the silence is. Hostess Alison tells him he has the distinction of being the biggest loser in one week, and also the biggest gainer. Neil smiles. Neil smiles alone.
Neil again tries to apologize, saying that he’s had time to think and what he did last week was “a mistake,” and that he’s not proud of what he did. He adds that the only way he can see to “right the ship is… to try and beat the scale.”
In a later cameo, Hollie expresses what is surely the group’s belief… “Saying you’re sorry doesn’t necessarily fix it.” I’ll go one further… in the eyes of most of the players, the question of Neil’s integrity is not a fixable situation.
By contrast, Isabeau feels no remorse for taking advantage of Neil’s position and having a soft week. I reluctantly agree with that too, as retribution… but can we get back to the purpose of the show… PLEASE?
A cameo comment from Julie indicates that they feel that Ryan also water-loaded last week, putting the people who play fair in a tough position. However, there was regular applause over his results. I’d like to think I could have stood there, unmoving, with my arms folded across my chest and just glared at him.
After all the weights are recorded, Alison announces that the trio of Kae, Hollie, and David are the ones up for elimination. Alison points out that Kae has the best percentage of weight loss to date, with over 25% of her weight lost. I can add, she has a slight lead over Bill, who is less that one percent behind and miles ahead of the rest.
Trainer Jillian has a meeting with her charges on the Black Team, plus Amy. It turns out that Amy is very upset, and she suggests that they might as well give the money to Kae now! The others try to calm her down, but she is PISSED!
Shifting scenes, old video clips accompanied by new voice-overs of the three up for elimination predictably inform us that none of the three is ready to go home. This brings us to real time and the Elimination Room.
Alison asks Neil about his recent voting strategy and why last night he said, if he could take it back, he would. Neil admits what he did was wrong and that he broke an unwritten rule. Now, he wants to focus on beating the scale. Nice, but you don’t have to have FBI training to see the facial reactions and know that it’s still “No sale!”
But let’s get to the votes. Speaking for the team of himself and Isabeau, Neil admits it was a split vote and votes for David. It seems colors are still running true, as these two come from the other two teams, originally. Neil says he hopes this shows there’s no conspiracy against the Black Team – as if Isabeau would have ever agreed to a vote against Hollie at this point!
Bill reports for Amy and Julie. He regrets that common sense seems to have left the game, but game play continues and feels his hand is forced. He casts a second vote against David.
Next up are the three who cast their own individual votes. Choosing not to vote against his buddy David, Bryan votes for Kae. Nicole, however, casts the deciding vote for David. Ryan’s vote remains a mystery.
Pressed by Alison, David admits he misses his family a lot. He tells the others he has no hard feelings and implores them to throw the game playing out the window and focus on the real objective, which I think is still getting their lives back under control.
In his funeral video David reiterates that he’s looking forward to getting back to his home life. Video from the next day shows David coming home in time for his son’s first birthday, and it’s a tearful reunion. His wife is happy to learn she can get her arms around David, who proudly announces, “Guess what? Daddy’s back!”
Current video shows us David is now 263 pounds, having lost a total of 105 pounds. He knows the only way to lose weight is by hard work.
Could you tell I’m not in the Neil Fan Club yet?
In my opinion, NBC’s promise of “the season’s most emotional elimination round yet” fell flat. Maybe we can just have an episode about weight loss next time?
Here’s a viewing note for Canadians, or those who have access to our second-tier Slice channel: beginning Thursday, November 15th at 10PM, the Aussie version of Biggest Loser (season one) will begin airing. From the communications I’ve had with readers down under, I think you’ll find the differences to be very interesting! One similarity – you’ll recognize the trainers!
Next week: exercising without electricity. Does this mean the Black Team has to go back to the beach and flip big, oversized tires again?
Join me here next week for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. And let me know what you think about it all at the eAddress below!
Born and raised in Toronto, Brian can be reached at at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.
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