The Biggest Loser 3, Episode 9: An Ounce of Preventionby Brian Towers -- 11/17/2006
Welcome to the ninth 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. In a twist, two new returnees (“the Gray Team”) have complicated the plans of everyone.
As usual, the show begins with Mr. Faceless Voice and his recap of last week’s show. However, this week he’s also spills the news that the live finale will feature four contestants returning to the ranch for the final weigh-in. Note, that’s an increase (of one) over the previous seasons.
The episode begins for real shortly after Bobby’s elimination. Erik says it was hard for him to lose Bobby, as he was his last good buddy in the house.
The trainers meet up with the contestants to hear the eviction results. Trainer Bob knows his team needs to “decompress,” and smartly gets them off by themselves. Bob tells the duo he’s committed to them, and trainer Bob and Erik hug (in a manly way). Sorry, no footage on Marty’s hug, if any. However, in the gym Bob climbs on Marty’s back while he’s in a wide push-up position and demands three push-ups. He gets two.
Meanwhile, trainer Kim has her charges hopping through the meadow like bunnies. Funny segue, that… though this is a good exercise for the quads.
In cameos, Kim speaks about the Gray Team that is now training with her. She says she finds Jaron is “a sponge” that absorbs everything. With Adrian, it’s more of an emotional struggle. Yes, it looks like Adrian is going to be the new weeper.
In a cameo, Adrian admits she’s too self-critical and trainer Kim tells her, “You still have Fat-Girl Syndrome in your head.” If I may paraphrase, that’s the ability to see only physical perfection in other women while seeing only faults in your own self. Commenting on Adrian, fellow Gray Team member Jaron says, “I think eventually Adrian will eventually get this place figured out. And I hope it’s before she’s back home.”
Changing scenes, we see the seven gathered about an outside courtyard. And look – a new face comes striding into our screen! It turns out to be Amy O’Conner, deputy editor of Prevention Magazine. Holy Product Placement, I wonder what she’s doing here?
It turns out, Prevention is going to treat the contestants to a pampering makeover – hair, makeup, and clothing. A photo shoot will follow, and they may end up in the pages of Prevention Magazine. Nice! Usually, on this show a surprise that initially seems appealing somehow ends up meaning some kind of pain like a chin-up contest or lifting small cars… but this just looks like fun.
Kai isn’t sure what bald Wylie is going to get in the hair salon. I’m guessing it was a close shave and a high buff. Meanwhile, Heather doesn’t seem too comfortable getting her hair cut by whom she refers to as “Edward Scissorhands.” Comparing this hair cut to what she’s used to in North Dakota, a gleeful Adrian says, “It just felt fabulous.” I’m guessing that if she were to pony up anything close to the money this treatment cost, she’d be surprised what’s possible back home.
It’s on to the photo shoot, which begins with make-up and then wardrobe. Insightful Marty recognizes that what this is really all about is recognition of the progress they’ve made to date.
As the clothes are modeled, Heather admits she doesn’t even own a dress and is very pleased to find out she’s dropped a size below what she expected. Adrian is wearing a smaller dress than ever before, and when she says, “So cute!”… it is.
The next scenes are the photo shoot. Marty in a Calvin Klein suit informs us, “They don’t make fat people clothes.” Wylie looks great, too. Unlike last season when eventual winner Matt sulked all day, everyone seems to be having fun. It ends with a group shot of all jumping in the air. Some of these photos are viewable here.
A graphic tells us that this photo shoot will be featured in an edition of the magazine that will be available on the racks later this month. This link will take you to an article about the three women. There’s no pictures, but note the significant drops in blood pressure and sugar levels.
Well, enough fun, let’s get back to the pain. Yes, it’s time for a challenge! As the players arrive at the site, I must comment on what a cool site this is – it’s a loading dock in a shipyard. What’s really impressive is, this is the cleanest, freshest, most organized dock I’ve ever seen!
Adrian hopes this is an endurance challenge, because she’s confident her training is superior in this area. Stationary bicycles sit on platforms elevated thirty feet aboveground. Kai sees the elevated bikes and admits she’s afraid of heights. She promises us “a meltdown on national TV.” Actually Kai, great news – the show is actually INTERNATIONAL!
At any rate, series host Caroline Rhea is present to preside over events, so there are no placards today. The prize is immunity in the next weigh-in, plus a stationary bike.
Each player rides one of the suspended bikes. Every two miles someone completes, they get to name another player to be lowered ten feet. When you hit the ground, you are eliminated. Gosh, they get to pick on each other, another chance for the newbies to get crapped on…
Adrian is on my same page. She is adamant that this is NOT a fair challenge. VERY adamant! She sees it as a “five versus two” scenario. She shouts, “You know damn well the first people they’re going to vote off are me and Jaron!” When she said the word “damn,” Caroline was visibly shocked.
When Adrian says, “I’m pissed!” Kai derisively interjects an “Oh-ho!” A cameo is inserted here where Heather suggests, “Everyone’s always gunning for somebody, so she should take it in stride and say, hey, it’s just part of the game.”
Caroline tries to convince Adrian the game could play out in any way, addressing her not-so-helpfully as “honey.” Adrian says, “I don’t want to play,” then reiterates it’s unfair and she’s pissed. She’s very close to crying at this point.
A Kai cameo say that she thinks this is about as fair as when Adrian came back to the ranch. Her advice is, “Suck it up, get on the bike, and let’s go.” Yup, exactly the same. What are you Kai, six?
Back live, the gleeful look on Kai’s face says it all and her fear of heights is forgotten. And as we go to commercial, a tearful, frustrated Adrian walks off the set.
Let me say this: Adrian is absolutely right, she and Jaron have NO CHANCE AT ALL in this patently unfair challenge. But having made your point, accept that you’re not going to win and take the opportunity to get in fifteen or twenty minutes of exercise. Isn’t that why you’re there? Also, her concerns about “looking stupid” are not valid.
At any rate, Adrian has decided to participate and get some exercise after all. As they are ready to start, Heather tries to tell Adrian they only get votes because they are the biggest threats. I will give Heather some small bit of credit for trying to make Adrian feel better, though what she actually said was a lie. Adrian responds, “I think this is bull!”
Sure enough, as the challenge begins, everyone not wearing a gray shirt names Jaron or Adrian as their choice to be lowered. In what must be an astonishing occurrence for Caroline Rhea, they are the first two eliminated.
Heather is out third. A little later, it develops that everyone is only ten feet from the ground, one step from elimination. They go out in the order of Wylie, Marty, and then after an intense battle, Erik. So a giggly Kai wins an all-important, unfairly contested immunity and can gain all the weight she wants this week!
One notes Erik chose to lower Marty late in the game and keep Kai aloft. Did Kai’s whining’s about fear of height influence this decision? And who believes her at the end when she says she cared more about getting down than she did about winning the challenge? Not me!
All that drama aside, I must say that this was one of the more exciting challenges this season. Those folks were pumping those bikes at a SERIOUS level! Hey, at least in the area of uniqueness, it beat the heck out of walking up a down escalator.
But let’s get back in the gym, where it is “Last Chance Workout” time. The trainers are working their charges hard. Kim moans that Bob only has two people while she has five. However, she also credits Wylie as essentially working on his own. Could that be because Kim rarely acknowledged the non-females on the team? Sure enough, Wylie is working like a demon. Kim tells us, “If anything, I have to slow him down.”
Adrian knows that if she or Jaron fall below the yellow line, they’re gone. She’s sure the others would celebrate.
It’s evening again, and time for the weigh-ins. This week, the dreaded “Yellow Line” will define the two individuals with the worst results, and those two will be up for elimination. Numerical results in the following chart are listed in the order they mounted the big faux scale. Remember, Kai is immune this week.
So the pair up for elimination is Marty and Wylie. Caroline Rhea points out that had Marty lost one more pound, Jaron would have been below the yellow line instead.
Erik has now lost an even one hundred pounds. Caroline Rhea tells us he is one of only three people to hit that mark on the show. I can tell you the others were last season – first Dr. Jeff and then Matt passed the century mark.
Meanwhile, Kai is pleased she dropped below the two hundred pound mark and vows never to get that heavy again. I give credit to Kai. Being immune, she just slacked off little and didn’t GAIN weight!
This next bit may sound odd coming from the guy who also writes abut the Survivor: Live show and bemoans weak gameplay, but I truly feel this show is different. So here’s my thought: I think if I could make one change to the Biggest Loser process, it would be that anyone who actually gains weight is automatically eliminated. I just think that gaining weight on purpose contravenes the basic tenet of this show.
That said, I’m sure Kai has set herself up for a nice loss next week that should see her safely into the final five.
Later that night and back at the house, Wylie needs to go outside and take a walk. Well, to cuss, really. Obviously he’s concerned about not losing any weight after working so hard this week, but the other players don’t understand why he’s acting the way he is. Heather calls it, “poor sport-ish-ness.” By comparison, Marty comes into the room and jokingly tells those assembled, “Vote ‘No’ on Marty!”
The next day trainers Bob and Kim run up to hear the news that Marty lost eight pounds and fell below the yellow line with Wylie. No one can understand why Wylie didn’t lose weight.
On a jog, trainer Bob and Erik discuss the upcoming vote. Bob says, “You know what you gotta do, right?” Erik responds, “The Blue Team is the Blue Team, it’s important to me.”
All seven players file into the Elimination Room. The first vote is from Adrian, who votes against Marty. So does Jaron. However, Kai votes Wylie, expecting that after a zero he’ll pull a big number next week. Heather is next and echoes that opinion. This brings it all down to Erik.
And surely to trainer Bob’s dismay, Erik sends home… Marty! His reasoning is that he’s trying to protect his own position in the game. It was nice to finally get some honesty. Erik has turned against the Blue Team for the second time, but now he has his own private trainer.
Marty takes it well and says he has found purpose in his life. He’s lost 91 pounds so far.
It’s time for the videos of our newly departed contestant. First up is the farewell video, in which Marty says, “I came here to lose weight and I found a new person inside of me.”
The next day, we see Marty come home and he’s greeted by many of his students, who have only the best thoughts for Marty. His change is so drastic that some of the kids admit they didn’t even recognize him! He tells them solemnly that they inspired him when he sometimes felt like he wanted to quit.
More current video tells us Marty has now lost an incredible total of 140 pounds, and I can tell you, he looks fantastic. One could not recognize him from the guy we saw back in week one. He says, “I feel like I can do whatever I want to with the rest of my life. I feel that The Biggest Loser has given me back my life.” Keep up the good work, Marty!
I was a little surprised I didn’t get feedback on my closing note last week, where I was critical of the way the trainers dealt with the new folks. The only email I did get was from a former contestant, and they essentially agree with me. Anyway, I was extremely pleased to see the trainers return to a more normal role this week and focus on the pounds.
If you have any thoughts on this week’s episode, let me know at the eAddress below. Otherwise, join me here next week for a recap of all the latest action, sprinkled as usual with my own opinions.
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.