The Biggest Loser 3, Episode 8: Never Show Up a Trainerby Brian Towers -- 11/10/2006
Welcome to the eighth episode of The Biggest Loser 3! This series focuses on teams of overweight contestants and their competitive struggles to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. Challenges and temptations bar their way to a $250,000 cash prize. And now, so do a pair of returning players.
Tonight is a special two-hour episode, so get comfy because there’s a lot going on. As a reminder, here’s a list of who is still in the game.
Trainer Bob initially led Bobby, Erik, and Marty. Last week they merged into duos with those trained by Kim – Heather, Kai, and Wylie, respectively. The six new players who have just re-entered the game are Jaron (from Arkansas), Tim (Delaware), and Matthew (Maine) on the male side, and Poppi (New Jersey), Adrian (North Dakota), and Ginnie (Vermont). The only other soul on camera is series host Caroline Rhea. Got it? OK, let’s go!
We begin as usual with a recap of the last episode, which includes extensive replays of virtually every scene involving the six ghost players being brought back to the game. Seven minutes into the first hour, we finally get a new scene. It’s Heather and Kai, the two remaining women from the Red Team, talking as they walk to meet the new players. They reaffirm their coalition – they are as determined to get rid of the newcomers as they are to see a woman win this competition.
The next section is amusing. We see the players greet each other and act friendly, but a series of interspersed cameos reveals how they really feel.
After a warm hug from Kai, newcomer Ginnie thinks they are all friends and “this will be a lot of fun.” However, Kai’s cameo sets that nonsense straight for the viewers. In Poppi’s cameo she says, “There was honest joy to see us, but it was really mixed in with absolute anger, maybe a little at us, and being angry a little at the game.”
Newcomer Adrian’s cameo makes the uncomplimentary observation of Kai, “She still has kind of a big caboose.” Meanwhile, Jaron identifies Erik and Bobby as “especially stand-offish.” Perhaps this is explained by Bobby’s cameo where he calls the newcomers, “invaders.”
None of this behavior surprises me. I have to confess that I’d be pretty resentful of these new folks too.
During this welcoming reception, Kai and Heather separate themselves to discuss the sleeping arrangements. Kai proposes moving a bed into Pam’s old room so they don’t have to share theirs with a newbie. They slip away from the gathering to do just that. It doesn’t work, however, and they get the bed stuck in the doorway. The only solution is to move themselves into Pam’s old (smaller) room and leave their bigger room for the three female ghosts.
What follows is a series of cameos with the ghosts in which all express their happiness at getting this opportunity. Nice, but not surprising, so let’s move along.
So as not to confuse them with the folks in the rich red and blue uniforms, the newcomers have been given clothes in the excitingly vibrant colors of gray and black. Undertaker colors, very subtle. No, there will not be a gray trainer.
Series host Caroline Rhea addresses the new assemblage of a dozen. She tells them that the weigh-in that is about to occur will define which man and woman of the ghosts will stay. The other four will be eliminated right away. Our six “veterans” are merely here to observe. Here’s how it plays out, in the order they mount the scale.
So, Adrian and Jaron will be the ones coming back into the game!
Caroline confirms that the weight losses of Adrian and Jaron exceed those of everyone on the ranch. I can add, so did Matthew’s numbers. The impressive numbers posted by the ghosts makes Marty wonder what they’re doing wrong on the ranch.
In Kai’s cameo she tells us, “To find out that the two people from home had better percentages than any of is here, it made me bitter as could be. To find out that I could have been home in my bed with my stuff in my comfort zone and done the same thing, yeah, it makes me a little bitter.”
Adrian is glad her hard work paid off. Jaron says he thinks they snuck in by the back door (well, they did) and almost feels guilty about it. Almost.
Both new players are anxious to meet the trainers. The trainers are surprised by the twist, but welcome them warmly. The other players can’t wait to point out that the two newbies have the highest percentages of weight loss so far, and they almost trip over each other to get that fact out there. Trainer Bob assigns Adrian to Kim while he takes Jaron.
In a cameo, Heather is frustrated. She doesn’t understand why she’s killing herself for four to six hours a day, only to be topped by someone whom she apparently assumes watches soap operas all afternoon. Umm, maybe they’re working out too? And dieting as well?
This next segment is real strange. Apparently, the two new players were banished from the room so the others could get a separate pep talk from the trainers. Bob tells the team not to think about “fair” and not to let this throw them. I bet Adrian and Jaron felt wonderful seeing this segment at home.
In an honest cameo from Bobby, he admits he has tried to lose weight on his own before, and it just didn’t happen. He is sure that if he were one of the ones at home, he would have not been a top loser.
The teams separate to talk to their trainers. We see Kim first. Kim interviews (grills?) Adrian in front of the others to learn her story. Adrian says she is a typical college girl, all beer and pizza. Being young and losing alcohol weight are the main points Kim highlights for the group. So see, it’s not Kim’s training or diet regimens after all!
The thing is, Kim delivers this message in a critical tone that implies Adrian has had it easy. There was nothing positive for Adrian here.
In her first workout with Kim, Adrian doesn’t find the pace or intensity she was expecting. At one point she tells Kim “This isn’t doing anything for me.” Kim assures her it is. Kim says in cameo, “It’s an emotional stage we’re at right now. These girls are tired. They miss their families. And I’m going to let the new girl know that she needs to be sensitive of what she says here. If she doesn’t, she’s going to regret it real quick.” Why is Kim taking on the role of enforcer? And why does she never remember she’s also training Wylie?
Meanwhile, trainer Bob wants to see what Jaron has to offer, and he’s getting a harder workout than the others. His tone is edging towards show-me-why- you’re-so-great as well. Apparently this show is actually about the trainers? Jaron tells us he’s here to learn and admits the other guys are in better shape than he is.
On the plus side of things, I can hear Bobby giving Jaron encouragement in the background on more than one occasion. Erik notes that although Jaron is right with them in cardio work, his strength is lacking.
Bob talks food with the guys, and it’s about the benefits of sugar-free Jell-o. They make Jell-o mousse together, with strawberries. Nice. Inexplicably, Jaron was not a part of it.
In the next scene, everyone enters a building with game face on to meet a smiling Caroline Rhea. She tells them, “Today, we’re going to have a ton of fun!” This is a reward challenge, so… probably not.
Each duo must move a ton of material from one side of the building to the other. There are four different materials – tires, water jugs, bricks, and gym weights. The power to assign who moves what pile goes to the team that can best guess the calories on a plate laden with a juicy burger, loaded potato, and a hot fudge sundae.
After consultation, Adrian and Jaron guess 1370 calories, Erik and Kai guess 1985, Bobby and Heather try 1350, and Marty and Wylie estimate 2300. The real answer is 2281, so the last answer is very close indeed, and they win handily.
Wylie announces that he and Marty will move the water bottles, Bobby and Heather the weights, Erik and Kai get the tires, leaving Adrian and Jaron with the bricks. As the small bricks require the most handling and don’t have smooth edges, they are by far the crappiest option.
In a burst of product placements we are told the winner gets a year of movies, plus a DVD player and plasma TV to watch them on.
Caroline starts the competition, and everyone is hustling. Marty-Wylie and Erik-Kai are leading. Erik is carrying about six tires each time but in the end, Marty and Wylie prevail by a modest margin.
The other two original teams decide to complete the challenge anyway but the new Grey Team, seemingly on Adrian’s decision, does not. Kai explains, “If there’s anything you learn being here on the ranch, it’s that if you start something, you should finish it.” Adrian figures the other duos did it to show them up. A shot of their remaining bricks shows about a hundred bricks or more that didn’t get moved.
When the trainers come in to hear the results, Bob’s second question is, “Did you finish?” Jaron confesses, "We didn’t, because it was over,” and Bob chides them, “It wasn’t over until you finished.” In a cameo he explains to us, “That’s what Erik would have done in the beginning,” and more importantly, “You finish what you start.”
A little later on in the kitchen, Adrian notes Jaron is trying to fit in, but it’s hard because, “It’s a club here, and we’re not part of the club.”
Jaron meets with Bob, who reviews his food diary. He thinks Jaron’s diet is too extreme and unvaried. Bob calls the diet, “A great way to lose weight quickly. It’s not a way to live a life.”
I know where Bob is going here, he’s trying to make lifestyle changes in his charges so they will not backslide later on. But Jaron’s first objective was to get back into the game. Not to build muscle mass, not to develop a robust diet, but to get back into the game.
In a cameo, Bob informs us, “This guy, he needs my help. The guys that are out there, if they have a good support system, then that’s great. But if they’re just following a regimen and they’re just following a plan, that weight is gonna come all back. And I’m not being pessimistic; I’ve been in this business for a long time. Your weight will come back.” Considering that the plan Jaron was following was the official Biggest Loser diet, that’s not the greatest recommendation for buying the plan materials off the website.
Jaron tells Bob he wants to work out with Kim, because he knows both trainers have a lot to offer. Myself, I think it’s because he’s getting zero credit for having lost all that weight outside the house. As the shot ends, we see that there were other Blue Team members at the table as well. That’s sneaky editing, as camera angles cut them out of the earlier shots.
Jaron goes to tell Adrian of this decision, but she has her own concerns. She feels the workouts are not as aggressive as she wants, and are not on a schedule that she knows works for her. In an aside Jaron tells us he sees her as a regimented person who gets stuck in her routines.
Trainer Kim strides into the kitchen and immediately confronts Adrian with, “Rumor has it you’re going anti-trainer.” Yes, that ought to set the mood properly for a meaningful dialogue. Adrian tells Kim she wants to return to her own schedule because she feels exhausted all the time. Kim tells us, “Adrian is so set in her ways. She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know.”
Kim’s point is similar to Bob’s, that what Adrian is doing may be working now but it will probably not work forever. There’s a boredom factor, and Adrian needs to learn new ways so she can change things up. Kim accepts that Adrian will work out on her own schedule, but Kim states that she will not train her. It’s all or nothing. In a cameo, Kim preaches that Adrian is ignoring a lot of assembled knowledge and concludes, “She’s a grown adult; she can go and take a nap if she wants.”
Adrian is unsure what to do. As she and Jaron head out to meet the Red Team (less Heather, she must be napping) for a jog, she weepily says to Jaron, “This sucks. I was so excited last week, it felt good, and now it’s like you’re hated for your accomplishments. I don’t want to go home.” When they arrive, Adrian decides not to join in.
Kim thinks Adrian is “stupid” for not taking advantage of the opportunities to learn. She says, “It’s crazy to me, I don’t understand it.”
We’ve finally made our way to the ever-dreaded “Last Chance Workout.” Even Bob admits this workout is brutal. Adrian is nowhere to be seen. Heather tells us her opinion, that Adrian’s abandoning the team “is a very, very bad decision,” because she’ll have no allies in the game. Yeah, like Heather is ever going to cover Adrian’s back!
In the gym, Bob yells to his charges, “Erik deserves to stay here. Bobby deserves to stay here. Marty deserves to stay here. The rest can pack their bags and go home now.” Again the editing is funky, we can’t tell if the others are within earshot or not.
Meanwhile, Adrian is off on a hillside by herself, crying. She pulls Kai aside to talk about the events of the day. It seems that after two hours of working out alone, Adrian found she needs her support system. She also complains of the heat and the differences in the workouts. Kai gives her a pep talk and it seems to really help Adrian.
So, Adrian meets with Kim and asks to be taken back. She confesses, “I lost perspective for a while.” Of course, Kim takes her back. Kim tells us she thinks the issue is Adrian is “fearful of working with a trainer, because she just doesn’t know what it’s like. She’s scared. That’s normal.”
Adrian reaffirms that her fear has nothing to do with Kim, and her true concern is still that changing her workout regimen could negatively affect her weight-loss results.
However, all is well for now and Kim takes her on a personal last-chance workout that is essentially a ninety-minute triathlon. Adrian is absorbing a lot of tips from Kim, which I think is what she is really looking for.
It’s evening again, and time for the weigh-ins. People seem especially nervous about this weigh-in. This week, the dreaded “Yellow Line” will define the one duo with the worst results. The two members of that duo will be up for elimination.
Numerical results in the following chart are listed in the order they stepped on the scale.
So the duo up for elimination is Bobby and Heather. Post weigh-in, a cameo from Heather confirms that her gain is intentional and this is indeed gameplay between her and Kai to eliminate the threat of Bobby. Caroline Rhea reminds the duos that they have only one vote per team.
Trainer Bob hears this news and asks Bobby if he’s quitting. Essentially, he is. Bob immediately suspects gameplay, and Bobby agrees. Bob tries to talk Bobby into fighting for his chance to stay, telling him to forget about the gameplay and concentrate on the task at hand.
Meanwhile, Kim hears the numbers from her group and is surprised by Heather’s result. Heather was pretty reluctant to admit to Kim that her weight went up and lamely blames it on not jogging enough.
Heather knows she’s taking a risk in the next vote. On the plus side, should Heather survive she will be in a great position next week
All players file into the Elimination Room. The first to vote is the duo of Adrian and Jaron, who vote against Bobby. Erik and Kai are next, and Erik confirms that this was a difficult decision for them to agree – on Bobby. Erik obviously decided to improve his spot in the game by getting of a potential winner.
Bobby admits, “My heart is no longer here” and when prompted by Caroline, reiterates that he’s homesick. He feels bad that he took a spot others could have used. He says the aim of the game for him was not $250,000, but a better life. Kai, Wylie and Caroline are getting teary.
Refocused, Caroline informs us that the game is going to shift again – the duos are dissolved and further competition will be on an individual basis. It looks like Heather’s gamble will pay off for her.
The show is almost over now. In his farewell video Bobby says, “Bob is so much more than a trainer. He has some much belief in you as a person that he makes it hard not to believe in yourself.”
Clips from the next day see Bobby arriving back home. Shaved, his wife can barely recognize him! His dimples are back, and she says he looks about fifteen years younger… and hawt!
More current video tells us Bobby now weights 227 pounds, a total loss of 94 pounds. He has more energy for his job as a fireman and for his family. None of his old fire fighting equipment fits him. He now cooks healthy meals for his firehouse buddies.
As we leave, consider this amusing point – Kai and Heather put themselves into the smaller room to avoid sleeping with the new girls. Now Adrian has it all to herself. Isn’t irony wonderful?
Here I thought I was recapping a feel-good show about people reclaiming their lives. This week I got a mixture of two-facedness, some serious animosity, a touch of hard-core gameplay, and two trainers in a week-long snit.
I believe the trainers see their objective as instilling lifestyle changes in their trainees that will lead to a better life for them, changes that will last them forever. This not only involves weight loss, but also improved muscle tone and definition, proper eating habits, a better self-image, and so much more. I understand this.
But, the ghosts reentered the game based solely on the numbers, and both trainers seemed to take it as a personal affront that the ghosts had the best numbers. Offering no positive feedback, both trainers instead responded with critiques usually delivered with inappropriate tones of voice. The newbies ought to have expected poor treatment from the other contestants, but it’s not excusable to get it from the trainers.
Enough tough thoughts, let’s end on a positive note. And what can be better than more good news from season two champion Matt and his new wife and fellow finalist, Suzy. They’re pregnant!! Wow, did this show change their lives any or what? Congrats, kids!
Join me here next week for a recap of all the action, sprinkled as usual with my own reactions and opinions. We’ll see if the rumors are true about one of the ghosts having lost more weight than anyone in the house! And don’t be shy about dropping me a line at the eAddress below!
Brian lives in Toronto where he can be reached at Uncle_bto@rogers.com. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.