Biggest Loser 5: Couples, Episode 10 – Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah!by Brian Towers -- 03/05/2008
Last time: The Blue Team went to Las Vegas, but behaved themselves a lot better than their negative-Nelly trainer Bob expected. On their return, they handily won a physical challenge for Puerto Rican vacations. However, when it came to the weigh-in, they were no match for Jillian’s upstart Black Team.
In a seemingly endless sequence of teary moments for the big boys, injured Mark reluctantly stepped into his sword and was voted out. I will admit that Mark worked as hard as anyone, and I also admire that he ran the game for quite a while, but we passed a point where I found it all vaguely reminiscent of first graders with splinters. He knew he was done, and the others knew it too.
But the “Mark Era” is over, so let’s move on. Following is a list of the players still remaining. I note that the only original partnership still active in the game is the weakest one of all the original pairs, strangers Bernie and Brittany.
This is trainer Bob’s Blue Team:
This is trainer Jillian’s Black Team:
Action begins shortly after the last vote, with Jay still feeling low that his brother Mark went home. When Bob comes to see them the next day, he says it seems like a funeral in the room. To us, Bob admits he fully expected Roger to be gone. When Bob asks Jay how he’s doing, Jay suddenly breaks down completely. Dude… your brother’s not dead, he’s safely back home with his loving family in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Man up! Wow, that is one bizarre umbilical cord!
Jillian comes to see her group. They are rather subdued. However, Jillian enters the room giddy to the point of giggling, which doesn’t seem to make sense unless she is already aware of the results somehow. It seems that no longer seeing Mark as a threat, they would rather have seen big Roger go home.
Brittany says, “Roger drives me insane. He’s so cocky. He knows that he is potentially going to be the winner of the show.” Maggie tells us that the Blue Team just handed Roger $250,000.
My estimation of Brittany just tumbled, significantly. Identifying Roger as cockier than the dominatingly aggressive and controlling Mark is just nonsense. It’s funny how Maggie and Brittany are doing the most altruistic moaning when they are already four/six percent out of fourth place and have little chance of making the finals anyway.
I also argue that anyone has handed the game to Roger. I agree he’s the one to beat, but I also think Dan still has a say in that. After all, Dan is ahead of Roger right now in loss percentage. Both ought to keep Kelly in their sights, too, because IF she believes, numerically it’s not impossible that she could be the winner.
Back in reality, series host Alison Sweeney is on hand to greet the players in the area next to the kitchen. Based on a vague theme of snack time, it’s a temptation challenge! Bernie says, “She says it so swee-eet! The truth is, it’s not… there’s nothing sweet about these temptations!” He also notes that playing could send you home, and not playing could also send you home.
Here’s how it will work: contestants enter a room to confront a special vending machine. They do so one at a time and unobserved by the others. The vending machine contains a lot of bad snacks, but there are also prizes, indicated by slots with sugar-free gum.
Attached to each gum pack is a monetary value, ranging from $500 to $5,000. Further, if you get gum, and you take another turn and get something bad, you can chew the gum instead.
There is also one slot containing the ultimate prize, an enticing one-pound “Pass,” which for the uninitiated is a one-pound deduction at the next weigh-in.
The machine is cross-wired so the usual method of determining row and column doesn’t deliver a predictable result. Players enter the room one at a time to play, unobserved by the others. It looks like there’s about fifty possible choice combinations.
The only other rule is that your turn ends either when you say it does, or if you get the special “Pass” card.
Roger volunteers to go first. Gum! $1,000! He takes a second pull and gets a bag of chips, so he has gum. His third pull is the one-pound pass. Excellent.
Dan goes next, and in four unfortunate pulls, gets junk foods worth 1,100 calories. He admits to feeling poorly from eating them, but tries once more. Finally, he gets gum. He decides to push on and gets on a roll. I suspect he partially cracked their scramble code. Over several pulls, he hits jackpots for a total of $9,500! He wishes he had won the pass, but he quits, satisfied.
Jay gets the pass on his first pull. Yahtzee!
Kelly is next. She gets a Twinkie worth 150 calories, and follows it up with more bad things. After her fourth failure, she’s burping and almost ready to hurl. Kelly quits after absorbing 870 calories in four cash- and pass-exclusive rounds, because she doesn’t think she can keep any more junk food down. Poor dear!
It’s Bernie’s turn. Round one delivers and unwanted 250 calories, but he follows that up with a gum pack worth $2,500… and follows it with a coveted free pass. Bernie celebrates heartily and says he loves the machine and wants one in his house!
Brittany follows, with a nasty 440 calories on her first pull… but then she gets yet another one-pound pass! Are these guys passing signals?!
Finally, it’s Maggie’s turn. One pull, one pass! Yahtzee again, and Maggie dances a dance previously seen only in secluded, bear-infested sections of upstate Jersey. Holy factorial 49, what are the odds? By the way, “factorial 49” is mathie talk, except I don’t really remember that stuff properly these days!
To summarize, Kelly and Dan racked up the calories, and everyone else got a one-pound pass. I’d say that puts them about two pounds in the hole, but at least Dan scored some cash along the way. My math skills might be a tad rusty, but I guarantee you that these lucky guys beat the odds by a hundred miles today!
There’s no sharing of results among the contestants, much to Kelly’s chagrin. Well hey, Kelly’s got precious little she ought to be sharing!
Later that night, we see Kelly alone in the workout room, feeling miserable over taking on about half a day’s calories in junk food and being the outsider on her team. But she’s working that treadmill hard, determined to atone!
As you may remember from last week, Bernie was again the Biggest Loser of the Week. For that, he wins a prize. He takes the hike up the hill to see the traditional three choices, “Family, Luxury, Gameplay.”
Right now, Bernie’s family is screaming for him to get them a free California vacation, but no-oo, he chooses “Gameplay.” Unfortunately, he gets burned. He wins the right to assign immunity to another player, but can’t use it on himself. Ugh!
Bad luck. Mama ain’t happy, girlfriend ain’t happy… and in real time, Bernie isn’t frightfully thrilled, either!
In the next segment, Dr. Huizenga has the players pay a return visit to the hospital he took them to in Episode 1. He repeats the battery of tests they got before, to compare results. He’s assisted by our buddy Dr. Jen Kearns and other experts.
Bernie learns that his lung capacity is up and his body fat is way down. Kelly hears that her fertility possibilities have greatly increased. Roger hears his sleep apnea severity is only half what it was. Good news, all!
Dr, Huizenga gathers them all to have “someone” tell them about the hurdles of weight maintenance after they leave the ranch. It’s affable Dr. Jeff, from Season 2! His message is that the fight against obesity goes on for the rest of their lives.
We jump ahead to a challenge. They’ve made the competitors hike to a ravine where Alison awaits. It has to be a challenge. Bernie is disinterested in the ravine and would prefer to go back and cook a steak.
Alison says today’s challenge is about achieving goals. They must take a zip-line across what Alison describes is “a 500-foot canyon,” grabbing flags attached to the line as they go. There’s a five-minute time period to complete the trip. The prize for the winning team is to fly in the cockpit of fighter jets in mock combat. LOVING IT!
One of Dan’s brothers is a pilot, and he’s stoked about the prize. Conversely, Brittany feels, “I think the prize is awesome, but I just hate to lose. My main focus is always to beat those boys.”
The Black Team has to sit someone out. Kelly says she told her team ahead of time she wanted to compete this time out, even though she’s scared to death now. So, Maggie is going to sit this one out. I’m guessing Kelly spoke up because she’s sat out several times already and wants to have a hand in determining her own future. If so, I’m proud of Kelly for stepping up.
Roger and Bernie go first. As they zoom across the canyon, we soon learn a little more about how this will challenge will play out. The “zippers” lose momentum before they hit the first flag, and at that point it becomes an upper-arm exercise. Also, the players just detach the flags and let them drop, so there are no issues of having to keep the flags safe and not drop them into the canyon by accident. As time winds down, the upward angle is sharp and meaningful, and the amount of arm strength required to succeed is significant. Getting to the last flag is going to be especially difficult.
As round one ends, Bernie grabs the last flag with maybe one second left, while Roger ends up one flag short. I think Roger’s higher weight worked against him. So the score is 14-13, and the Black Team leads by one.
As we go to break, Kelly is gripped in fear and starting to cry. Meanwhile, Dan remembers how very reluctant Jay was to get on that ride in Las Vegas last week. Aha, now I know why the editors included that seemingly useless scene!
Indeed, Jay and Kelly are up next. Kelly is sure she will wet herself, but she wants to give it her all so she doesn’t appear to be the weak link to her teammates. Both slide out far more tentatively than their predecessors. With virtually zero time on the clock, Jay gets the last flag. He thinks he’s getting more confident. Dare I suggest that not being under the dominating shadow of brother Mark could be a factor? Kelly did all right too, getting 10 flags. However, her Black Team is now down by three flags.
Brittany and Dan go last, with Dan’s team up by three. Brittany does better on the initial coast, plus working like a demon so she’s soon two flags ahead. However, this is a muscle test and Dan is no slouch in the dedication department either. Dan catches up, pulls ahead, and gets all 14 flags, again with little time remaining. It was hard to tell, but I think a disconsolate Brittany just fell short on her last flag and ended up with perhaps 12 flags.
So the Blue Team gets to shout “Pride!” once again.
Jillian has a “Trainer Tip” for us next. There are actually a couple of these each week, but they are invariably just thinly disguised commercials which I refuse to recap. She tells us that pulling weight is a good back, bicep, and curl workout. She suggests pulling a weight plate across the floor ten times. I suggest putting a three-year-old in a wagon and pulling them around the block until they’ve had enough! Reap all the above benefits, plus more cardio than you can shake a stick at!
Post challenge, the teams are working out just for the fun of it. Bob thinks that Mark leaving was bad for the team, but good for Jay.
Dan is also up for some kudos. With a hearty weight overhead, he does some step-up/step-downs that even impress Bob. Bob says, “This has NEVER been done at the Biggest Loser house!” As Bob reminds Dan how far he’s come, positive emotion floods over Dan. Roger comes over for a slap on the back and Dan says, “It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever felt!”
Over with the Black Team, the ladies (especially Brittany) want to know what Bernie’s prize is. He spills the tale. He thinks he might give the immunity to Brittany, but Kelly wants to take another look at the situation.
Kelly and Bernie have both had the idea of giving immunity to Jay on the other team. The idea is to assume that they will win the weigh-in, and then one of the big boys (Dan or preferably Roger) would have go home. That’s great thinking, but we don’t hear the final decision at this time.
Bernie’s in a tough spot. The safe and nice thing to do is to play defense and pass immunity to partner Brittany, who will never vote against him. However, the bold move of offering immunity to a member of the enemy and messing with their game is almost Hall Of Fame-worthy! I honestly don’t know which play I would make. Maybe I could talk The Hall into using a younger picture… ?
Alison (in a black turtleneck top with short sleeves) meets the teams in front of the big scale to announce the weigh-in results. But first, Alison announces that five one-pound passes that were won, and only Dan and Kelly are without. She also announces that Bernie has an immunity to assign. However, she has an announcement first… and we have a lengthy slew of commercials to suffer through first before finding what it is.
The announcement is… there are no more teams.
I’d have used an exclamation mark there, but that commercial break really was a momentum-buster!
Dan says, “What?” and Bob is stunned. What, after last week when Bob seemed to assume that the individual game was afoot? I don’t get it. Maybe because it has come so late in the episode, he had accepted that the ‘teams’ concept prevailed for another week.
Kelly tells us, “It’s my chance to stay in this game.” The Blue Team likes the idea, however.
Alison announces that the dreaded yellow line is back, and it will be their worst enemy. Further, there will be no more Biggest Loser Of The Week. The last one, Bernie, is now called on to announce how he would like to bestow immunity. He opts to save his season-long teammate Brittany, who is grateful he chose her.
Here’s how the weigh-in went. I have included the extra one-pound losses for the five who secured them in the “Loss” and “Percent” columns.
Roger is the first this season to pass the century mark, having lost a hundred pounds… well done! Dan’s at 99 pounds, so there’s probably another celebration coming next week. Bernie celebrates his crossing the 200-barrier, but being below the yellow line, he has none of his regular enthusiasm.
As the weigh-in is complete, Alison’s shortened announcement consists of saying that Bernie and Kelly are the ones up for elimination. Alison points out to Brittany that if Bernie hadn’t given her immunity, it would be her up for elimination and not him. He responds simply, “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
The trainers are sent home and as usual, the teams have an hour to talk before voting. Brittany (hoodie up) and Maggie are very nervous and a bit weepy. It’s tough for Brittany that her partner saved her, and now he’s at risk.
Dan realizes that the decision is really in their hands, because the most-recently-former-Blue Team have three votes to cast, and the most-recently-former-Black Team have just two. Oy! I’m never using color designations again… from now on, they’re just people with the names their mammas gave them!
Bernie asks the big boys if he needs to pack. They are vague… So, pack. Similarly, when Kelly comes in to lobby for herself, Roger tells her she’s the bigger threat and although he could try and blackmail her, he won’t.
The last chance strategy hour is over and Alison re-assembles our slim gang in the elimination room.
Brittany votes first, for Kelly (no surprise there). Maggie is next, and she agrees with Brittany. However, the power lies with the Blue Team.
Jay votes for Bernie, as do Dan, then Roger. Roger makes a reference to a promise he made to Kelly and Paul a hundred years ago, but it rings very, very false right now.
As he is sent off, Alison reminds Bernie he lost 88 pounds.
In post-elimination video, Bernie says he learned that people need to take time for themselves. He credits Brittany for pushing him to go far in the game, but says he’s not done yet. He adds that the next time we see him, he will be modeling on the cover of our favorite magazine.
Wow, Bernie’s going to be on the cover of “Batman!”
Arriving home the next day, Bernie is greeted by many friends and family members, and one dog. The folks think he looks great; however the dog is discernibly nonchalant. Bernie tells them that that he’s looking to this group for support in his drive to win the $100,000.
In more current video, we find Bernie now weighs 175 pounds, a loss of 108 pounds from his first day at the ranch. He has gained energy without losing his sense of humor.
My Opinion: Well, now it truly is the girls against the guys. Are the next two weeks foregone conclusions? Will they ever change the rules (or casting) to allow females a fair shake?
Had Kelly lost two more pounds this week, she’d have been safe. Like I implied above, that’s about a one-pound pass and the value of that basketful of candy. Most everyone beat the odds at that machine, but Kelly was not so fortunate. However, after surviving her “outcast” situation, she’s now got a chance to make the final four.
Last week when I commented that the Black Team needed to retain their advantage, it was the other two I though were at risk. I’m sorry to see Bernie go, as he and Dan are the best wits this show has ever had. My one regret is that I didn’t pass on more of Bernie’s sharp one-liners in my recaps. Alas, time limits what I can write, and facts and my own wisdoms need take priority.
One last bugaboo – I’ve been watching Aussie season one (great stuff, highly recommended), and they weigh to within 0.2 of a kilo, with is an eleventh of a pound, or raggedly, about 1.5 ounces. Since we have three people within 0.06 percent this week, isn’t it time that the accuracy of the weight amounts be commensurate with the accuracy of the loss percentages? A two-ounce accuracy level seems indicated.
What do you think? And would you like me to set up a poll to gather (and share) reader input about this season? It takes time, so I won’t do it if I don’t hear from you!
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. It’s not like I’m not raising some interesting issues here!
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!
More at home with popcorn than push-ups, Brian (B.Math, 19?4) 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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