The Biggest Loser 3, Finale: Say What?by Brian Towers -- 12/15/2006
Welcome to the twelfth and final episode of The Biggest Loser 3! This series focuses on overweight contestants and their struggles to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. Challenges and temptations bar the way to nice cash prizes for contestants who lose great percentages of their original body weight.
This finale is two hours long and guaranteed to be chock full of excitement… and many clips of things we’ve seen before. Safe to say that everyone’s journey is revisited except those of series hostess Caroline Rhea and Dr. Robert Huizenga, the show’s medical expert.
The night begins with Caroline Rhea welcoming us to the live finale. They are in Holl-y-wood! I gotta say it, she has again been dressed in a gown that Project Runway’s Santino may have fitted for her. She spills the news that apparently, one of our four finalists will NOT be making it to the scale. We won’t find out more about that until much later, though. Then, she launches us into our first recap of the season’s events. I’m skipping right past most of those in this article.
Back live, Caroline reminds us that the ghost players are weighing in to win a prize of $50,000, eliminated players aim for $100,000, and then the final four decide the big prize of $250,000.
Caroline turns our attentions to the 34 ghost contestants. Actually, 33 – I’m so anal, I froze the screen to confirm that Adrian and Jaron are only part of the middle group of eliminated players, and I counted the heads.
Caroline tells us that nine of the group lost more than a hundred pounds. When the nine stand up, I count three females and six males. Way to go, gang! Caroline interviews a couple of the mob. We learn that Linda from Idaho got married because she learned to love herself and that Vicky from Ohio has become a distance runner and has completed a half-marathon.
Caroline informs us that the two biggest losers in this group will weigh in for the prize. Those people are: Poppi from New Jersey and Matthew from Maine. Both players are among the four who (briefly) returned to the ranch, only to be sent home the next day back in episodes seven and eight.
Poppi, a mere shadow of her former self, tells us she went from a size-22 dress to a two! She gets on the scale first, and her weight has dropped from 232 pound to… 115! That’s a loss of 117, or 50.43%!! Poppi is deservedly elated, as no one has ever lost that high a percentage on the show before.
Caroline tells Matthew he needs to lose a whopping 185 pounds to win. She jokes, “I’ve seen it done.” He gets on the scale, and she almost sees it again. After telling us Matthew started at 366 pounds, we find he now weighs 190. He’s lost 176 pounds, or 48.09%. Close, but no cigar! Poppi wins the at-home challenge and the $50,000.
Next up, the eliminated-at-the-ranch contestants are introduced. We’ve seen how most of them look from video in the last minute of their elimination episodes. The whole group is looking good, but let’s just say that Jennifer, Amy, Ken, Brian, and Jaron look especially super! Marty’s biceps are not to be overlooked, either.
A change of pace finds us watching the final four returning to their homes, which is where the last episode ended. Needless to say, all are very happy to see their family after almost three months at the ranch.
The first one we see arrive home is Wylie. Wild screams greet him, and his friends are stunned and impressed by the change. Next up is Heather. Her husband is glad to have back the girl he married and tells her she looks “amazing.”
Kai’s story follows. Her parents think she’s “a babe,” and, “absolutely stunning.” The good news for her is that the whole family has lost weight in her absence and several have started regular workout programs.
Last up, Erik. Only his wife and two young daughters are present in the family kitchen. His wife is overcome by the change in Erik. She tells us he’s a new man and she hasn’t seen this Erik in a long time. In the back yard there’s a surprise greeting party, with all Erik’s friends and other family members present. Erik jokes, “Okay, let’s eat!”
Back on stage, trainers Kim and Bob are brought out. They greet the eliminated players warmly. Since, ahem, most of Bob’s team has in fact been eliminated, it takes him longer to do so.
The weigh-in of these eliminated contests ensues. Contestants mount the display scale in order of elimination, with the following chart showing the results in that sequence.
I note that Jennifer and Amy both topped the hundred-pounds-lost mark. Also, the last five men averaged almost 150 pounds weight-loss. While at home, Brian lost 88 pounds, Jennifer lost 92, and Ken, 93. On the minus side, Adrian is actually heavier than when she was on the ranch. Overall, the group averaged 34.5%, which is pretty nice.
As the weigh-in progresses, Jennifer holds her lead until Ken takes over. Then, Brian grabs the lead and holds it until the end. So Brian wins the $100,000, and he is elated. The Blue Team and trainer Bob rush to congratulate him, with runner-up Jaron only getting in the way a little.
Caroline tells us, “Now, it’s about the final four.” And the next segment is, indeed, a series of self-recorded, at-home videos from our final four. A gauge on the screen indicates that these clips were recorded six weeks before the finale. From Erik’s opening comments, we are led to assume the total “at home” period is a little over three months long.
Erik admits his training plans are being foiled by distractions in his life. However, he’s back to work at his deli, fighting the twin bad habits of smoking and eating on the job. He admits he’s tempted to sway. He’s also concerned that he has a poor personal history of finishing tasks he starts.
Heather is finding the home life to be no treat, either, and she’s always exhausted. I fervently wish they’d insert a clip of her moaning about how “unfair” it was that Adrian had it so easy, working out at home. Alas, they do not. In one weigh-in she finds she is inexplicably gaining weight.
Wylie works out hard, but he knows he needs to keep on top of his calorie count. He admits in one entry that he ordered some pizza intending to just eat two pieces. However, it got out of control and he rues that he ate the whole thing. He doubts his ability to stay tough enough to win the prize.
Kai finds the party life still has allure for her. After one party, she is badly hungover and makes a video entry to record her regrets over what she did. Well, we’ve all been there. Well, maybe not recording it, not that part. Me, I wish I could have seen Kim’s face as Kai was chugging down all those shots. Kai also finds he workout regime is compromised when she’s too faded to do it properly. Well, we’ve all been there, too.
Before the four come out, Caroline Rhea chats with the trainers. To Bob she says, “Everyone in the world would like to have you as their trainer.” Well, maybe not Wylie… or Jaron. Asked to give advice to the assembled masses, Bob says, “Don’t wait until January 1st when you can start today. It’s the first day of the rest of your life. You can do it, you can do it!” Gotta say, the first line was the most inspirational of the three.
Caroline asks Kim how the show changed her life. Kim says, “It’s all been overwhelming and crazy, but, they totally change my life. I’ve been a trainer for twelve years and I’ve always said, “I’m just a trainer.” Now, with these guys, it’s “I’m a trainer, I’m changing lives. And I didn’t realize that until I went through this journey with these guys.”
Our next series of final four at-home videos was made when there were two weeks to go. Wylie is down to size 32. He’s learned that when he falls off the program, he picks himself up and gets going again.
Kai is no longer the party girl, and now fits into a size eight. Seeing a single-digit number stuns Kai. She says, “I hope Erik is at home, speed-eating pastrami sandwiches.” Gee, did that need to be said?
Too bad Kai, but a clip of Erik shows a man who is working out hard. Not only that, but it’s evident he’s lost some serious weight since the last episode.
Back to Kai, she tells us she wants to be the first female Biggest Loser. But Erik has the date of this live show marked on his calendar with a simple “D-DAY $250,000.00” notation.
In this next sequence, Caroline Rhea introduces the foursome one at a time. They enter by running through a cutout of their larger self. Old video accompanies their introduction. The problem is, it all goes mute unless Caroline is actually on screen. Further, when the director selects her shot, Caroline is chattering excitedly in mid-sentence to the audience. This problem remains for pretty much the rest of the show. Why am I thinking the “Best Audio” Emmy is at risk here? Best Director, too.
At any rate, Wylie is looking really good. He says he’s beating his demons and, “I feel like I could fly.” Kai is next, and she looks good too. Caroline asks Kai about looking so good and she responds in a dorky party dialogue my ear doesn’t pick up so well, but seems there are no lingering ego issues.
Erik comes out third. After looking at him for about a second, I can identify him as the winner. No doubt about it, really. The three amaze over each other at length as Caroline Rhea is almost losing control of proceedings. Erik admits that people don’t even recognize him any more.
Last out is Heather. Heather’s profile is the most remarkable of them all – she’s very pregnant. This ought to be an interesting weigh-in! Seriously, we learn that she is, in fact, five months pregnant. Caroline warns her, “That’s what happens when you are irresistible.” Apparently someone is giving Heather “a dream nursery,” but again, without full sound, who knows? Maybe it’s a loaner?
Hold on here, I have some questions. Five months pregnant? Five months ago, wasn’t she at the ranch? I’m willing to assume a little rounding in Heather’s favor on that one, but why didn’t the show’s medical tests discover this at some point? Doesn’t there have to be a point in the game where she ought to have been pulled?
We must be a little early on the time chart, as some trivial interview questions follow. Wylie deflects the first one by using the now-senseless word, “Amazing.” Erik introduces a nervous Internet friend in the audience. I understand the guy was huge initially, and although he’s not small yet, he’s dropped well over a hundred pounds.
Caroline reminds us the fifty original contestants weighed 14,384 pounds and had a goal of losing four thousand pounds. Now at 10,103 pounds, the total loss of 4,281 pounds easily exceeds the two-ton objective.
During this segment, the sound actually gets fixed for a second. Then some idiot overrides the corrective action and we end up mute once again. Plus, a voiceover guy talks over Caroline as she sends us to commercial. This is poor, poor, poor.
Back live, Caroline Rhea tells us the third place finisher will get $25,000 and the second-place finisher, $50,000. Nice, but I’m betting they don’t beat Michael from Maine or Jaron, and they’re going home without a nickel.
Caroline Rhea tells Erik that since he lost the most weight at the ranch, he can set the order they weigh in. He asks Kai if she wants to go first, and she agrees. Erik also says he’s used to going last, so Wylie can go second.
The chart that follows shows the results in the sequence the competitors step on the big scale.
So our winner is… Erik !
In fact, he wins handily. Kai sets the record for losing the most weight for a female ever. She shouts out, “That’s right!” But no one has ever topped Erik’s numbers, either in gross weight or percentage.
Erik saves a bit of face for our trainers, as (only) his numbers top those of at-home ghost contestant Poppi. I guess there’s some redemption for Bob here.
Erik played the game hard to win it. Remember, the Blue Team kept Erik over Amy in a watershed vote, then he stabbed them all in the back. This included gaining weight on purpose one week. But, no one has ever lost an additional hundred pounds after leaving the ranch, either!
As the show ends, Caroline tells us, “Hang in, you can do it!”
In The Mail:
There was still more feedback on my campaign to eliminate the gaining of weight on purpose. One reader suggested using the “DYL” (“Dreaded Yellow Line”) concept right from the beginning. I like this idea, as it means the one going home is one of those most responsible for the team facing elimination in the first place.
Wow, great finish, despite the sound issues! I’m very proud of all our competitors.
I want to thank the many readers who have emailed me through the duration of this season. Some interesting and intelligent correspondence has resulted. If you have any final thoughts you’d like to share about this week’s finale (or pretty much any topic), let me know at the eAddress below. Otherwise, join me here in a few months for a recap of the next season, sprinkled as usual with my own observations and 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.