The first thing we get this week on The Biggest Loser is a temptation challenge, and oy! What are they thinking? Yes, I know, in the real world, we face temptations. However, in the real world, we’re not told it will help our team to eat as many calories as possible. This is officially messed up. "Eat something! No, don’t! It’s bad for you! It’s good for the team! Look at all your little friends! Are you going to be weak? Are you going to be eeeeeeeeevil? Are you going to throw away everything you’ve worked for in an orgy of caloric indulgence? Well are you? And hey, look — brownies!"
Oooh, look at the table full of sugar-frosted spoilers! Tempting, aren’t they?
Each competitor gets fours minutes alone in a room full of yummy, high-calorie treats — pizza and cupcakes and hot wings and egg rolls and fries and everything that is holy in the temple of the taste bud. The person who consumes the most calories in that time gets a three-pound weight certificate — three pounds will be added to their total weight loss at the scale. So yeah, you may be sabotaging yourself in the long run, but it’s good for the team!
The Blue Team had agreed that Neil would be the sacrificial lamb for any temptation challenge. So we get Neil, heroically choking down chocolate and fries for the team. But for some reason, Patty gets the impression Neil abstained, so she thinks she’s got a free pass to eat for her team. Hey, I’m consuming more than my daily allowance of calories in one sitting, but that’s ok, it’s for the team!
Patty ends up "winning" the challenge. Neil is pissed — "I just consumed 1,700 calories for nothing?" Cue recriminations, and tears, and yelling (and I kind of wanted to smack Kim for looking so perky when she heard the Blue Team melt down at each other). But in the end, Bob makes the team talk through it, and all is well… or is it?
Lots of sprinting. Bob decides to make things interesting by having his team sprint while carrying another team member. Are you surprised by what happens next? Ryan drops Jerry, and Jerry’s knee goes pop. It’s not good.
It’s a race — and this time, the teams are also racing against little kids. Everyone sort of giggles and relaxes when they see the kids (a fourth-grader, third-grader and kindergartener), but I immediately have a flashback to running after my four-year-old nephew and begging to be put out of my misery after about 10 minutes. Little kids are fast, and they do not stop.
The fourth grade girl smokes the first heat. The kindergartner also leaves his competitors in the dust. Best explanation for why the adults didn’t win? "These kids — a lot of hormones in the meat these days." Hee.
Only Phil is able to win a heat, against the third-grade boy. Man, Phil can move.
The Red Team gets to call home, so the producers get to splash around in their delicious, delicious tears some more — look, Amy’s pre-schooler wants her to come home! Bryan’s wife cries and tells her she’s proud of him! David’s son has almost started crawling — and he’s missing it! But the worst is Phil, whose wife tells him she’s proud of him, and happy that he’s doing this, but damn, it’s hard to be alone with the kids while he’s gone. Phil weeps, his wife weeps, and Phil hangs up, saying "Well that sucked." Happy reward, guys!
The weigh in
Red has lost the last two weigh-ins, and they want to make sure no one else goes home. Also, I love the dress Alison is wearing. So cute!
David — down 6 pounds
Bryan — down 4 pounds
Amy — down 6 pounds
Phil — down 9 pounds
Total weight loss: 25 pounds, or 1.89 percent of their total weight.
Jim — down 9 pounds
Hollie — down 3 pounds
Jez — down 4 pounds
Julie — down 3 pounds
Bill — down 3 pounds
Isabeau — down 5 pounds
Total weight loss: 27 pounds, or 1.59 percent of their total weight.
Kae — down 3 pounds
Ryan — down 2 pounds
Jerry — down 2 pounds
Nicole — down 3 pounds
Patty — down 5 pounds — and since she won the temptation challenge, she gets another 3 pounds subtracted, for 8 pounds total
Neil — down 3 pounds
Total weight loss: 21 pounds, or 1.22 percent of their total weight.
Red Team wins the weigh-in at last!
Now that Blue has to kick someone out, they sort of fall apart. It’s ugly. They do a preliminary vote in the dorm just to get the discussion going, and Jerry is shocked to find that everyone voted for him. He’s not interested in discussing it — he just feels betrayed. "I believe in loyalty," he says. "I believe in respect. I may be from a different era. If you don’t change your mind, you’re doomed."
Oh, Jerry. I agree, it’s a blow to the ego. But saying "Dudes, it’s my team, and I’m the oldest, so you have to respect me"? That’s not going to sell it. Talk about how you help them win weigh-ins, talk about how you keep the team motivated, talk about how you can help them succeed. If you get pouty, you’re not going to help your case.
Alas, he doesn’t take my advice (why does no one ever take my advice? God knows I’m yelling hard enough…). At the tearful, angst-laden elimination, Jerry gets three votes. Neil and Nicole each get one. Nicole looks shocked that Kae voted for her, and I’m betting things will be strained between them, even though Kae tried to put the best spin on it.
So Jerry is out. He tries not to be bitter, but fails. Bye, Jerry. I’ll miss you.
And then, oh my god, did you see his look-at-me-now interview? Jerry looks fantastic! He’s lost 88 pounds! Holy crap. Go, Jerry! You rock!
The obligatory belly-aching
You know why people eat pizza, and egg rolls, and cupcakes, and all the rest? Because they’re yummy. They taste good. They feel good, at least momentarily. And making it an either/or thing — either you consume mass quantities to help the team, or you completely abstain to show your virtue — is crazy-making, for the contestants, and for people watching at home. Moderation, people. In the real world, it’s about moderation.
But this is TV, which wants nothing to do with moderation. Which we see in the weigh-in — Oh, people are so disappointed to lose a mere three pounds. They’re absolutely crushed they’re not putting up double-digit numbers. Kim looked a little dead inside when she told David that six pounds was "a good realistic number." It’s freaking great! The editors pulled out the poignant, funereal music when people were putting up two and three pound losses. How does that not set up an unrealistic expectation for people trying to do this themselves? Gah!
Folks at home, Julie has the right attitude: “Slow and steady wins the race, I guess — I may be the last little turtle across the line but I’m going to look good in my shell.”
Oh, and one last thing — Patty, "I have issues" is not an excuse for anything. Yes, you do. But guess what? So does everyone else there. So does everyone else in the world. We all have issues, and baggage, and things that make us crazy. It’s what you do despite them that makes you who you are.
Lord, that sounded pretentious. Oh well. Still true.