The Biggest Loser Special Edition: Marine Wives vs. Navy Wives, Part 2by Brian Towers -- 03/17/2006
Welcome to the latest episode of The Biggest Loser: Special Edition. This series pits two teams of overweight contestants in a competitive struggle to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. This “Special Edition” version of the show features small teams with some kind of special relationship. This week’s teams are Navy and Marine wives. Last week we met our teams that consist of four wives each. The red team is the Marine wives, who are Sharon, Amanda, Rosalina, and Amber. I remember them with the acronym S-A-R-A. The Navy wives are in blue and they are Dari, Jessica, Tami and Tina. Sorry, I don’t have a handy acronym, but I do see the relation of the colors blue and navy.
We learned last week that being a military wife means their husbands are away from home for extended periods of time, thus the responsibilities of home and children fall heavily to these mothers. Additionally, they live with the hovering threat that harm could come to their spouses.
As far as the action last week, neither side yielded in the temptation challenge. The Marine wives won a water-based relay challenge and the services of nannies for a week, and finally the Navy wives rallied to win a close weigh-in and the services of their trainer Bob for an additional week. OK, we’re all caught up - let’s see how this all plays out!
The show opens with Jillian concerned that her red team may not be able to keep up with the program when they get back to their busy lives. Bob feels the same way – as the ladies don’t live together, team support will not be constantly present. We see both teams arrive home from the ranch. There are plenty of hugs and kisses from their kids, family, and friends. I think some of the competitors were homesick while they were away.
Jillian has prepared for her team’s first night home by arranging for them to go to a restaurant accompanied by their spouses. Only the appropriate food items appear on the menus. I don’t think any of the husbands were fully prepared for the lifestyle changes that will be affecting their lives as well.
To get his team off to the right start, Bob has enlisted a chef to prepare a nice meal for his team as they return. It looks great - Chilean sea bass and more. Unfortunately, their husbands are still at sea. Jessica is impressed that they had such a great meal for 533 calories. (The recipe is on the show’s website. I guess the dinners were to replace of the rewards we usually see at this point. Tonight there’s no mention of a home gym or a new fridge full of food. Did the budget run out? I mean, the dinners were nice but had to be about one tenth the cost of the usual package.
We next see several video diary entries. Dari thinks her team is feeling lost back in the real world. Jessica and her kids are missing Daddy. Meanwhile, Amanda has learned that “food is not the center of the universe.” Rosa feels the pressure to succeed and just doesn’t want to let anyone down.
The Navy wives have traveled to Hawaii because after six months of forced separation, at long last it’s time for them to see their husbands. The boat docks at an agonizingly slow pace. Needless to say, it’s an emotional reunion. The men all feel their wives are looking great. Tina thinks her husband has lost even more weight than she has!
Ten weeks after leaving the ranch a graphic tells us, “Both teams are struggling,” and a series of video diary entries bears this out. Tina tells us it’s tough for her as we see her working out, but at a slow pace. Tami is not losing weight. Sharon is not following the diet and doubts she can get back on it. Amber thinks about Jillian almost every day and is afraid what she’d say if Jillian could see her now.
Desperate to get back on track, Amanda has the Marine wives assemble for a team workout on the beach. They’re working out, all right, but the pace is a very comfortable one. Jillian sneaks up behind them (looking fine, by the way) and announces, “Very low energy…” The gals all squeal with surprise. Jillian rewards her squad with a workout. The pace is immediately doubled from before, except for Amanda. Amanda is smoking again and can hardly breathe, much less keep up. When pressed by Jillian, Amanda cries and doesn’t think she can quit smoking. Jillian responds with a strict lecture to try and get her to straighten out.
Talking with her team, Jillian finds out they have not been doing very well on the diet. She stresses that the secret to weight loss is a combination of diet and exercise, in tandem. Jillian is absolutely correct. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to me like her team is succeeding in the exercise phase, either.
Over with the Navy wives, the ladies have joined with their husbands onboard ship for an exercise session. And who comes running up but trainer Bob! He puts all eight of them through an intense workout and it’s apparent the husbands are not enjoying it very much. Jessica informs us that they enjoyed watching their men sweat and groan.
Back with the Marine wives, Jillian builds an intense and effective 30-minute workout that they can fit into their schedules. Trying it out, Amber is running at an impressive eight-and-a-half miles per hour. Rosa is doing even better - she’s topping ten miles per hour! Jillian tells us it’s a matter of getting the ladies out of their comfort zone. This segues to an upset Amanda, who is decidedly not in her comfort zone. Amanda has nailed the diet but doesn’t work out as hard as the others and feels she’s letting the team down. Wiping Amanda’s nose (ick!) Jillian tells her she has strength and isn’t letting the team down.
It’s time for some more video diary entries. Jessica is starting to look good when she tells us she wants to make her husband proud. Rosalina finds the competition is what pushes her. Dari reminds us that surgery wasn’t the right solution for her, but this program is. Well, yes, liposuction will do the job initially, but living the same lifestyle as before will put you right back in the same boat. Alas, I pun!
With six weeks to go, both teams come home to find they have a “Biggest Loser-gram.” It contains a current picture of the other team. Jessica is sure they have the Marine wives beat and says, “We can almost smell that $50,000.” Is that some foreshadowing from the reality TV gods?
The Navy wives have returned to the ranch for the extra week of training with Bob that they won in last week’s challenge. He’s driving them hard, which they feel they need. Dari reveals she was having asthma attacks on the ranch before, but has not had any recently and has not had to use her inhaler at all. Good for you!
It’s time for the final workouts. The Marine wives are cautiously optimistic. Sharon is particularly impressed with Amanda’s efforts. As they pack, they feel like winners already as a result of the lifestyle changes they’ve made. Aside from the rest, Amber thinks they could have done better but figures the team has a chance to win. More foreshadowing?
The setup is complete and it’s time for the payoff – the final weigh-in. The scene is a Hollywood stage with series host Caroline Rhea in front of a live studio audience. Initially the teams are brought out one at a time to stand on opposite sides of a dividing mirror. By eyeballing the teams it looks like both are a lot smaller than they were, but I do see a few tummies still evident. Like, eight. It could be a close one!
Alas, Caroline puns, too. She says, “The wait (“weight”) is over.” The mirror is lifted and the teams see each other for the first time in months. Both teams applaud each other. When prompted for a sound-byte by Caroline, Dari says, “Work hard and the results will come to you.” The trainers are brought out to observe the weigh-ins. The blue team is getting weighed first and here’s how they did:
Very tidy - all four had similar results. Caroline informs the red team that they must have lost more than 144 pounds to win, and that seems like a lot to me. Here are their results:
Not enough! It’s $50,000 for the Navy team! Defying the gods of reality TV irony, both Jessica and Amber predicted these results correctly after all.
When she stepped up, Amber was told she had to lose more than 32 pounds for her team to win. I congratulate Amanda for having both the largest net loss and best percentage loss. They’d have won if the other members of her team had lost another six pounds each, an amount that still would have left them with the three lowest loss percentages.
Family members and friends of the Navy wives team overrun the stage while the Marine team looks on disconsolately. We close out with some current pictures of the wives and learn that Dari is getting certified to teach spin classes and Pilates, Jessica takes five spin classes a week, and Rosa is playing competitive volleyball.
My Own Thoughts:
It was nice to see Bob win again, and also nice to see that the last team on the scales didn’t win for a change.
I guess it wasn’t just editing this time – except for Amanda, the Marine wives really did have troubles sticking with the plan once they left the ranch. Now, maybe most of the numbers weren’t as impressive in this arc as, in fact, neither team did as well as any of the other Special Edition teams. But maybe the story of the Military wives wasn’t about stunning weight loss numbers, but about more realistic results from people busy with active, full lives.
Or maybe it was about a couple of teams that, even for $50,000, couldn’t motivate themselves to improve their lives. I can’t decide. Let me know what you think at the eAddress below!
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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