Biggest Loser 5: Couples, Episode 3 – Calling Dr. Phil!by Brian Towers -- 01/16/2008
Last time: to mimic the players, trainers Bob and Jillian also united into a team of two, and then put the contestants through their toughest workout yet. White Team husband Neill struggled with differing aspects of the process, but Jillian took him aside for a successful motivational chat. In a challenge involving oversized seesaws, the Black Team again prevailed, winning phone calls home for four teams. Later, three individuals yielded in a temptation, but only Black Team’s Mark won cash. The weigh-in generated a lot of disappointing results, but the Orange Team prevailed for the second time to win an unrevealed prize. The elimination vote was close, and although the Yellow Team was also at risk, the highly likable Brown Team was sent home.
As a refresher, these are the eight surviving teams.
The week, action begins with the trainers returning to hear the results of the last elimination. Trainer Bob admits off-camera that at first he’s surprised by the elimination, then he figures the teams saw the Brown Team as a threat to win. Trainer Jillian confesses to us that with their new set-up of being a training team of two, she is invested in both elimination nominees and has mixed feelings over the results. She also thinks it’s now “Game On!”
As if to confirm Jillian’s thoughts, members of the Black and Orange Team teams confess in cameos that although they are here to lose weight, they are also here to play the game and win the money.
This discussion continues as most teams head to the gym. But not all – it’s finally time for the Orange Team to get their prize for winning the last weigh-in.
Series host Alison meets them on a different lawn and tells them that to earn their reward, they have to hike to the top of a big, steep hill. There are three envelopes there, labeled “Luxury,” “Family,” and “Gameplay,” and they must choose one. As they walk up the hill, mom and son discuss their options. Mom wants to take “Gameplay.” Dan is interested in luxury, but mom can’t understand why he’d even consider that. To us, Jackie expresses a desire to see her husband, but when Dan lets her make the choice, Jackie opts for “Gameplay.” It’s a good choice, and they win the right to cast TWO votes at the next elimination!
Deciding to see if they made a wise choice, they open the other two envelopes. In “Family,” it says that the family member of their choice may visit for 24 hours. In the “Luxury” envelope is free massages for them and another team, for a week. The team decides they are happy with the prize they got.
When they return to the gym, son Dan announces their prize to the other contestants. Elder brother Mark knows that his challenge-winning Black Team needs to stay above the yellow line this week or they are in big trouble.
The next footage is of some intense training, with a wide variety of people being pushed past their limits. As they work out, the trainers address them regarding last week’s weak results. Bob explains, essentially, that if they work out hard, the numbers will take care of themselves. Jillian adds that the secret is to out-work their neighbors. Too bad their neighbors heard that!
As we go to commercial, there are several preview clips of what’s to come. Ridiculously, they include shots of the teams filing into the elimination ceremony, where a quick eye can pick out the two teams at the front that aren’t carrying trays (and are therefore the ones up for elimination). For the purposes of this recap, I’ll keep it a secret for now. However – brilliant work, editors!
Bob comes upon the four ladies of the Pink and Purple Teams. He speaks to them about snacking and forces Jenn to admit how many Cheezies she used to eat (she ate them by the bag). It turns into a low-cal gum commercial, though, so let’s move along.
In the gym, Bette-Sue of the Pink Team resents that she’s lifting as much weight as the young ones. In fact, she comes very, very, close to upchucking, and for her restraint, I am appreciative! Instead, Bob sends her on a walk with 20 pounds to carry. She moans and pouts most of the way through it, but then takes heart that those 20 pounds are equivalent to weight that used to be on her body.
A visit with the White Team, mostly in cameos, shows that Neill is still looking for shortcuts. Even his soft-spoken spouse Amanda knows that despite what he thinks, he’s not fooling anyone. This segues to a scene of trainer Bob loosing his patience with Neill.
After repeated warnings, Bob gets tired of telling Neill to stop using the hand-rests on the treadmill and passes him a pair of weights to hold on to instead. Sure enough, the next shot shows Neill standing astride (but not on) the treadmill, holding the weights at his side. Amusingly, wife Amanda can be seen as she sprints on the treadmill behind him.
Pink Team’s Ali (the daughter) gets some time with trainer Jillian next. Jillian later explains that if Ali doesn’t face the reason she’s heavy, the weight will just creep back on when she gets home. It turns out Ali uses her fat as a defense mechanism, and that she’s felt alone ever since her mom’s divorce. She adds that there are topics she can’t talk over with mom.
Really? Me too! And I’m older than 32! However, I’m fine with it.
Jillian says this is “an opportunity to dig this up and embrace (the feelings).” In a later aside, Ali indicates isn’t sure Jillian can see her as a person separate from the role as her mother’s daughter.
The scene changes again. Series host Alison Sweeney greets the teams outside. It’s time for a challenge! A big muddy pond it is in evidence, right in the middle of what looks like start and end lines that are about 75 yards apart. Alison tells them that this challenge will test their friendships and their alliances.
The challenge will work like this. One member of each team must race to get a medicine ball at the far end of the course, then carry it back to the starting end and place it in the rack of another team. Each lap, of course, takes them through the pond, which turns out to be high-thigh deep. The way in and out is muddy and slippery, too.
When a team’s rack is filled up with eight balls, they are eliminated. One player must do all the running and carrying, while the other just hangs by the rack and offers potentially helpful advice that is probably not all that welcome.
They are playing for immunity. Sweet!
The Pink, Gray, and Black Teams ally right away, targeting the Blue Team. Meanwhile, the Orange and Blue Teams target the Black Team first, then the Gray. The other three are not shown as part of the discussions, but maybe that’s editing. After the first round, the Orange and Black teams each have collected three balls, while the White and Blue Teams have one apiece.
After the first few balls are allotted and the game play is obvious, Black Team’s Jay hollers over to mom Jackie from the Orange Team, “Hey, play your own game!” She stands her ground staunchly and gives back triple what she got. Jay says no more.
The Orange Team is out first. White goes out second, with Neill close to the racks, but not getting there in time by a whisker to place his ball.
Blue Team’s Bernie has the next ball to be placed, and he stands in front of the Black Team’s rack but seems unsure whether to place it there. Jay says to him, “Finish us off,” and Bernie obliges. So the Black Team is third out, and Mark yells harshly at brother Jay for telling Bernie to put them out. Jay quietly explains that they were toast anyway, and he was trying to keep the ball out of the Pink Team’s rack. Mark prefers to keep shouting threats at his brother instead of listening.
Yellow is forced out next, and then a few seconds later, the Pink Team. Only the Gray, Purple, and Blue Teams are left, and all have only one slot left.
Maggie of the Purple Team is next back with a medicine ball, and can eliminate either team… but they are in a hopeless position themselves. They choose to eliminate the Blue Team, meaning that when Gray Team member Roger arrives with the next ball, the only possible move is to play it against the Purple Team… and the Gray Team of former football teammates win!
Back inside, teams reflect on the game. Alone in their room, White Team husband Neill expresses surprise that the other teams went after them so readily (they were the second team out). Wife Amanda tells him that HE is the reason they were targeted. She thinks his sense of humor is misunderstood, and it will get them targeted. He scoffs at her trying to be a “people pleaser.”
The Orange Team has gone to the gym to exercise while they discuss what just occurred. For some reason, no one else went to the gym. Other teams talk in the house, and the main topic is Mark of the Black Team. Even his brother Jay feels Mark was too aggressive and came across as controlling. Mark doesn’t think it would matter if he apologizes or not, because if they fall below the line, they are gone anyway.
Outside, Brittany confronts Mark about his reactions in the game, saying, “It was a little ridiculous, it was a little extreme.” His response is to say that’s how he is with Jay at home and blames his competitive nature. However, even though Brittany has said she was upset, Mark does not apologize! In a later cameo, Brittany calls him a sore-@$$ loser.
Mark calls all the teams together to try and mend some fences. Mark says he eats crow, but we mostly hear Jay talk. Pink Team mom Bette-Sue accuses Orange Team mom Jackie of blah-blah-blah. The scene ends with Mark saying, “There goes the harmony in the house.”
Here’s my take: A group of players allied, others counter-allied, it happens in most every season of every reality show. The whole discussion is childish and unnecessary, and nothing is resolved. Much ado about nothing, methinks.
Enough of that… let’s move on.
Back in the gym, most everyone is working out hard. Neill’s there, too, and although he is legitimately working hard, he’s also up to his old trick of holding onto the treadmill as he runs. Jillian threatens Neill that every time he touches the treadmill, she will add five minutes to the workout for everyone. Sure enough with less than ten seconds before a sprint session ends, he does it. Jillian sees it and happily assigns another five minutes to the exercise, on Neill’s behalf.
Bette-Sue gets weepy because she’s got nothing left. Jillian says, “Are you going to die?” and she says, “Yes… and then you’ll feel bad!” Jillian responds, “No I won’t. I’ll be so proud; you’ll be my first casualty!”
In a cameo, Mark says that if Neill touches the treadmill again, he’s going to tape Neill’s hands to the top of his head. Neill touches the armrest again, but luckily for all, Jillian is looking the other way and he gets away with it. Sorry Amanda, but Neill’s got problems beyond his sense of humor.
Jillian has a chat with Bette-Sue about the chat Jillian had earlier with Ali. Calling Dr. Phil! Bette-Sue says she knows Ali is disappointed in her, but Jillian reassures her that healing is possible. Jillian then finds Ali and tells her she talked to Bette-Sue. Ali is taken aback by that, but covers well. Jillian gets mom and daughter together, and they talk.
It’s all about feelings and I’m a guy, so don’t ask me what happened next. Hey, I’ve seen it four times now and I’m even more confused than when I started! Mercifully for me, cheerful background music eventually comes so I think they had a positive resolution. I think it went something like this: they’re unhappy and they haven’t been there for each other, but they love each other. It ends with a hug, and even I know hat’s a good sign.
Time jumps ahead to the last-chance workouts. Everyone is sure they are at risk (they are, except for the Gray Team). Right in the middle of it, a clip of Jay saying how much he misses his family is inserted. Huh? What is that doing in THIS segment? Near the end of the segment we have a shot of Neill, taking a knee… again. But everyone is wiped out from this workout.
Later that night is the weigh-in. Much to my surprise, Neill has not brought a lawn chair so he can sit down while the rest of the teams have their turns.
Alison reminds us that the team with the best results will be deemed “the biggest losers of the week” and win a reward, that the two teams with the worst results will be up for elimination, and that the elimination ceremony will follow shortly after this ceremony. Nothing new there, but what I do notice is how well that purple satiny blouse goes with Alison’s hair and skin tone!
The following rainbow chart shows the results, in the order they mounted the scale. The two red boxes indicate the teams at risk of elimination. Here are the results:
When all is said and done, the Yellow Team (divorced couple Paul and Kelly) is “the biggest loser team of the week,” by the smallest possible margin, a mere hundredth of a pound! Blue Team’s Bernie thinks that if he had shaved off his beard, it would have made the difference. I’m not sure about that, but he vows to be clean-shaven next week.
Facing elimination is the White Team of newlyweds Neill and Amanda, and, for the second time, the Purple Team (girlfriends Maggie and Jenn). In one hour, one of them will be gone.
After packing, the White Team comes out to talk to the others. An emotional Amanda tries to convince the others that as much as they’d like to be with their son, they want to stay. Neill seems to be looking around the other side of the room at one point. Footballer Roger tells us in a cameo that “I think everyone was expecting Neill to step up to the plate and take charge and say, ‘I want to be here, my attitude has changed,’ and that didn’t happen!”
It’s voting time. Alison asks the White Team if they talked to the others. Amanda replies that she did. Alison presses Neill, who admits, “Amanda did most of the speaking. She’s a little but better at that, connecting with people. Plus, she can turn on the tears a little bit better than I can.”
There is not even a hint of a smile among the voters.
Since no team sneaks their platter open to change their vote after that inane remark, I think we all know where this is heading. Sure enough, voting is short and sweet. In turn, the Black, Blue, Gray, and Jackie of the Orange Teams all vote for the White Team, most citing Neill’s slacker effort as the reason for their decision.
Too bad for the Orange Team – their extra vote became meaningless, and those massages would probably feel pretty good right about this time!
In next-day video, Neill says he’s offended by the vote and comments, and insists he’s been working as hard as anyone since the first week. Is this a good place to mention that he achieved a 7.89% weight loss, last amongst the remaining men and in fact beating only the two young ladies of the Purple Team? Amanda, at 9.31%, is in the middle of the pack for the women.
Normally, the teams return to the dorm area, but Alison has another twist for them. She tells the remaining players, “The Biggest Loser is about to enter a new phase,” and asks the question, “If you could vote off one more team, right now, who would it be?”
Ha! Based on that wording, I’m fairly sure this is NOT a double elimination point, but rather an attempt to stir up some drama. I predict the Black and Orange Teams will get most of the votes. However, we must wait for next week to find out the results and the ensuing consequences. Maybe the most-nominated team wins a game play advantage?
In more current video, we learn the White Team is using their dismissal from the ranch as motivation. They work out as much as they can. Neill has lost another 23 pounds, for a total of 48, while Amanda has lost one more than Neill since leaving the Ranch, for a total of 43 pounds in all. She’s looking good! Her goal is to be down to 130 pounds at the reunion, which I calculate is another 31 pounds away.
On The Network Website: Beside the blog from hostess Ali (Dr. Jen: where’s yours? We miss it!), each week there are a couple of interesting video snippets posted that are not part of the episodes. One is a humorous bit showing son Dan explaining that he had a fight with his mom Jackie, so now he’s on “Team Tangerine” instead of Team Orange. The two are laughing hard you can tell they have a great relationship.
Another clip shows the trainers administering (inflicting?) the President’s Fitness Test, on the contestants. Initially devised for school children, no one passed or even came close. No one can do a pull up, and the mile run features a lot of walking. Still, repeating the tests in a few weeks will show them exactly how far they have progressed… so, tough as it was, there is inspiration ahead.
Finally… they are taking applications for Season 6 NOW, so no more excuses, here’s your chance to become a role model for all of us!
My Opinion: Everyone was an emotional wreck this week! This crew may have taxed even Dr. Phil. If there’s really this much deep emotional repair going on, then professionals need to be doing it. There is a psychologist on staff, after all.
But after it all played out, I think this vote went correctly. When I read the stories in my mail and at the website, there are many who would have paid thousands to take his place. It kills me that he didn’t embrace this opportunity for all it was worth.
Join me here next week for a recap of all the latest action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. And let me know what you think about it all at the eAddress below!
More at home with popcorn than push-ups, Brian 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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