The Biggest Loser 2, Episode 6: Cheater, Cheater, Bacon-Eaterby Brian Towers -- 10/20/2005
Welcome to week six of The Biggest Loser 2, the series that pits two teams of overweight contestants in a competitive struggle to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. Challenges and temptations bar their way to a nice prize.
Last week, the men won a trip to Universal Studios and the women won a trip to their Stairmasters. The women proved they knew their way around fridges and won nice videos from home. Come weigh-in time, the men won again and bride-to-be Suzanne was eliminated. So far, contestants have lost a total of 576 pounds. In case you can’t do the math… that is impressive!
The most significant event of last week was the way the women jelled into a functional, more cohesive unit. Although it makes for good reality TV, I am hoping that focus of this can be shifted from that nonsense!
As a reference, these are the contestants in this year’s show:
THE WOMEN (Blue Team, coach Bob):
THE MEN (Red Team, coach Jillian):
Eliminated, in order:
Before we get rolling, we catch up with Gary from last season. He started there at 227 pounds, and now he’s a svelter 170, plus the man’s got some muscle. Seriously, he shows some guns and looks a generation younger. He says, “Go for the long term results, baby!” Yay, Gary!
This episode begins for real with trainer Bob trying to inspire his squad. It’s low-key. The team is lower-key… or is it depressed?
Ex-cop Mark has become a workout animal - he did five hours before Jillian even showed up! Has he a workout jones? Is he eating enough? All good questions. Even trainer Jillian thinks he needs to rest and takes him aside. She reminds us that a minimal, controlled, and effective amount of food is required for proper weight loss. She worries that if Mark is working out more that the rest, but he may not be taking in enough nourishment.
It’s now time for the weekly temptation. We see three boxes and a big cake in plain view. Basically, the challenge is to eat a big slice of cake to have a one in three chance to win $2,300. Freaky number, and it never comes up what that means. Pete worships, “Wow, that’s awesome,” and not a soul in the room disagrees.
The players try to bait each other, evaluating the calories and equating them to treadmill minutes. Cute, but no one is very interested. So… the bar is raised… or, lowered, when a note is slipped under the door. It says that the middle box can be revealed. It is - and it’s a glass of milk. Umm, how does that help? And as they go to commercial… Mark dips his finger into some chocolate icing!
And on return for commercial… Mark EATS that weeny bit of chocolate! But that doesn’t count, and no one takes the bait this week. Seth tells us, “Low-fat things are often higher in sugar.” Eating has never been so complicated.
As the players leave the Temptation area, they meet the two trainers. Trainer Bob tells them that a high-tech exercise bike was the prize for those who yielded. Attractive as that is, they made the right decision.
It’s late in the day (or is it early the next day?) and med student Jen and Mark are working out alone together. There’s some good-natured team-related banter, nothing nasty, and you understand that they are supporting each other’s extra-curricular efforts. What is really happening underneath here is cross-team bonding. It seems the other ladies don’t want to bond with the Blue Team. Holy acorns, is that nuts? In the next stage of the game, that’s going to matter oh-so-much!
Moving along. Dr. Jeff has always been concerned about his ankle, which was reconstructed years ago. Jillian is trying to convince him his ankle is fine. That’s a teaser; we’ll be revisiting that concept soon.
Trainer Bob tells the ladies that to prep for the next challenge, the ladies will climb a nearby hill. They do very nicely. Similarly, the boys are lead by Jillian on a “little hike.” Not so little. They are “off-roading” it. At times, Dr. Jeff needs Jillian’s help, though no one finds it easy. Jeff is very concerned about his foot, but Jillian pushes him on and with the kind of teamwork that we’ve grown to love, they reach the summit. Team Red celebrates, justifiably.
Kudos to Jillian, for recognizing that Dr. Jeff could make this climb and successfully pushing him to do so! Way off in the distance, Jillian points out the little hill they climbed in week one. Jillian says, “You guys did great!” Who could disagree? The symbolism is not lost on the fellas. Ex-athlete Matt says, “It’s going to be a constant battle uphill to continue to lose weight… you’re always climbing a mountain.”
Moving along again, series host Caroline Rhea has arrived to tell us about tonight’s challenge. It’s a little different in that only one person will represent each team. The winner gets $5,000 to share with their team. Also, the winning team will decide which Red Team member will not count in the next weigh-in. Caroline introduces the task ahead as, “The mother of all stairs.” The task is to go up and down a big escalator ten times. 2,280 steps. OK, not trivial, but up and down the CN Tower once is over 3,400 stairs, and that’s a “mother.” But I digress.
Caroline adds that the other team gets to pick which person will do the task. Caroline is sneaky, isn’t she? The choices seem obvious - diva Shannon or med student Jen, and Dr. Jeff or perhaps devoted husband Pete, right? We are playing to win, aren’t we? So the ladies pick… Mark? And the men pick… Andrea?? Huh???? This does prove that the strategy aspects of this game escape the competitors. I even wonder if “competitors” is too strong a word. Shall I say “process participants?”
The actual event is less exciting than the choices, despite the spicy music track, so I’ll just report that soccer mom Andrea wins, “in a walk.” Gosh, did Mark’s five extra hours a day workout weaken him for the challenge? Ask Bobby Jon of Survivor, who knows all about having no strength left when it actually matters…
Bob the trainer is proud of Andrea, so he shows the players how to make a fun dessert. Well, the hour wait for it to set is not fun, but 100 calories and 3 grams of fat is pretty decent.
Uh-oh! Night-cam has caught Matt sneaking a midnight snack! Is that bacon and cheese? Those are nasty foods - keep the stove on low so no one hears the sizzle! Now, Matt is a very focused man, but he gets very discouraged when things go awry. I like Matt, but the word “moderation” has never been in his dictionary.
Well, it’s almost scale time. Mark thinks he’s the one who will be excluded from the weigh-in because he worked so hard. Otherwise, the women must surely lose! Yeah, okay. At any rate, he’s wrong… the Blue Team opts to exclude new dad Seth.
So let’s get right to the weigh-in. This week, Caroline often refers to the contestants’ startup weight. Mostly, there’s no significant numbers. I’m just going to focus on this week, and here’s how they fared:
The team loss is 36 pounds, or 1.57%. That’s nothing to sneer at, but not a huge number in the context of this group. Myself, if I ever lost that percentage of weight in a month (never mind a week), I’d be giddy.
The women decide, surprisingly again, to sit out Seth. He gets weighed first and wow, good choice, ladies, he’s down ten pounds! Also, by looking at before/after pictures, he’s grown significant chest hair (no points for that).
Caroline informs us that, Seth excluded, the men begin the week with a combined weight of 1,224 pounds. They need to lose more than 19 pounds to win.
Mark doesn’t understand why doubling his workouts didn’t produce a better number.
The women are afraid to look at Matt… so are the men... and the gods. Stewing, Matt walks out a convenient portal into the night and pauses for reflection. Luckily, it doesn’t appear that he can jump from any great height, nor find anything pointy. In an aside, Andrea says she feels bad for Matt. Matt strides back into the room in a most purposeful way. Caroline asks if he’s all right and his team comes to his support. No, not by hugging. They do this by blocking a brief crying jag from most (but not all) of the crack camera squad. I guess real men don’t… naw, I got nothing. Caroline tries to settle Matt down by reminding him that he has lost 60 pounds to date. It doesn’t help, but it gives her a way to segue to the person to next weigh-in.
Caroline reminds us that the last two men need to lose 19 pounds to win.
So Pete needs to lose four pounds for the men to win. His weigh is 325, down an amazing 13 pounds (76 since the start of the show). Mercurial Matt is happy, and he races to hug Pete. I guess hugging is back on the menu.
The formal results are that Team Red lost 28 pounds, or 2.29%. Again, it really wasn’t very close. As the biggest loser on the losing team, Suzy is immune from eviction. Nonetheless, she cries out amongst tears of bewilderment and frustration, “We tried so hard!”
Suzy is annoyed that the other team is happy they won for the third week in a row. Suzy, suck it up, okay, both teams lose, and often. Have you noticed the teams are about the same size? Have you seen reality TV before? Does continuous whining and pouting usually pay off? Hint: Nope!
When he finds out they lost again, trainer Bob feels like he failed his girls. In the ensuing discussion, most of them are pretty weepy about it. Andrea is particularly upset as the team commiserates their loss.
Jillian confronts Matt about midnight binging. He fesses up and promises Jillian that he will toe the line in the future. In the weeks ahead we’ll keep an eye on this thread!
We see a last-minute conversation about the voting between Andrea and Suzy. It seems it’s going to come down to a choice between Andrea, who isn’t losing weight like the others, or Jen, who, after a couple of days in sync, may be losing focus.
The women file into the Elimination Room. This is the third week the women have had to face elimination… and, appropriately, they don’t look happy. Caroline chides them for it like they’ve chosen to keep losing. Andrea starts it off by voting for Jen. Jen returns the favor. Caroline warns them about the dangers of a tie, where, as we saw recently, the men get to make the decision. Gosh this is tense - let’s have a commercial!
We’re back. For those who have been in the john for the last seven minutes, Caroline recaps. Readers, if you were in the can, too, please reread the last paragraph - that’s all that happened. Otherwise, let’s press on.
Suzy says it comes down to “pounds or percentage” and what they’ve done in the past hasn’t worked. She also votes for Jen. Cop-out or wimp? Of course you’re not voting out your buddy Andrea! So Shannon has the deciding vote. She says she’s learned to like Andrea, the team has united, hearts and flowers, this is a hard vote for her… and she votes against Jen.
Okay, I’m more than a little surprised that the Blue Team’s most consistent biggest loser is evicted. None of them indicated they see a team reshuffle coming, and so what is their logic?
Jen’s final comments indicate that she connected as much with the men as with her own teammates. She hopes the women do go on to do well, but she’s saying it to Shannon and not the others. Girl, if you want to win on a reality TV show, you need to get into an alliance (like you did) and ride it as far as possible. No way should Suzy and Andrea have outlasted you!
Jen has a handshake for Andrea, a hug for Suzy, and a nice hug for “her diva buddy” Shannon, and she’s out of there. The remaining trio promises they will not be back to see Caroline for eviction next week.
As Jen’s funeral video plays, we learn she’s down to 195 pounds now (she was 267 in episode one), which is very, very good. She tells us, “It meant more to me to win my life.” The weight-loss journey continues, but there’s every reason to expect Jen will succeed.
Next week: The teams are gone as the remaining contestants are paired up. Lord knows what colors they will wear. They play at the beach. A tragedy affects someone, and it seems like it’s Matt. Also - the episode is 90 minutes long. TiVo accordingly!
My Own Thoughts: The ladies, if they expected the teams to continue, made the wrong move. On the other hand, if they expected a shuffle, they did the right thing. I’ll pretend it was the latter.
And who’s not lovin’ this show? I am!
Join me here each Wednesday for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. And let me know what you think, at the eAddress below!
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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