For some reason, this week's episode was half an hour shorter than usual. The show felt a little skimpy -- we didn't get nearly enough Tim Gunn. Last time around, there was a real focus on the transformation, the process of selecting the clothes, the choices of hairstyle. This time, we got maybe a moment or two of conversation between Tim and each contestant. This time, instead of taking the contestants into a big department store, he took them each into a "boutique" he had created for each contestant inside a luxury hotel suite. We got to see him hold up a dress or a shoe or a jacket with each contestant and have a word or two, but that was about it.
The makeovers themselves were just okay. It seemed like the clothes chosen were much more understated than the usual TBL makeovers. I thought that Danny's powder-blue vest was the worst fashion choice. Actually, is a powder-blue vest ever a good fashion choice for a guy? The other guys wore much more slimming jackets. Rudy had to give up the beard, but he started growing it back immediately. Liz got sassy in an animal-print dress and a cute blonde hairdo. I thought Rebecca's haircut and black dress were a little severe, and the long bangs going straight into her eyes had to drive her crazy. Amanda didn't really look that much different than she did for the eliminations -- she got to keep her long blonde hair, and her outfit was pretty but fairly casual. None of these makeovers had the "Oh my God!" impact that I've seen on other seasons.
Maybe the reason was that they didn't want dramatic clothes and hairstyles to distract from the speeches that each contestant had to give to a crowd of TV Guide readers? It was a decidedly un-glamorous venue. A couple of the speeches were really touching but the rest relied on tired weight-loss story boilerplate: "I was always on the sidelines, never on stage," "I'm ready to continue my journey." The biggest drama came from the contestants being reunited with family members right before the speech. I felt an axe in my heart when Danny's daughter said "I can't wait to start my journey," and for a moment was afraid that a spinoff, "The Littlest Loser" show would be born, where children of contestants shed their baby fat. No no no no no. Hopefully the contestants' kids won't become hyper-focused on weight in the aftermath of their parents' transformation.
When the contestants got back to the ranch, they had to do a zipline challenge, where they pulled themselves from one hilltop across a deep valley to a second hilltop, where larger-than-life pictures of the contestants at the start of the show waited for them. Liz freaked out and uttered some pretty funny, but terrified, primal screams, but she made it. Once the contestants all got across (Rudy won, with Amanda right behind), they each unrolled a picture of their made-over selves over their old pictures. Allan admitted later to Bob that he had purposely thrown this and the last challenge to keep contestants from focusing on him as a target for elimination.
Jillian's reaction to the whole makeover thing was mostly, "That's nice, now let's get to the gym," but she did pick up on a story from Rudy's speech about how his sister had gotten gravely ill when he was 12 and died a few years later. She grilled him about why he had never brought this story up before, and managed to find out that he was shuttled around to various family members while his sister was in the hospital. She pointed out that he lost his sister and felt abandoned by people he loved at the same time. This was about when he started gaining weight. Now, she continued, he can't let people get mad at him because it makes him feel too alone, so he hides his feelings from people and eats instead.
The truth of Jillian's analysis really came out at the elimination, which was between Rebecca and Liz. Rudy casts the deciding vote to eliminate Rebecca because of something she did five weeks earlier, and she is understandably hurt and confused that he had never mentioned this to her in all the time since the incident occurred, and only mentioned it as she was leaving.
I stuck around through some of Leno to see what Rebecca looks like now, but other than the opening monologue, the show was so incredibly stupid that we recorded it on the DVR and watched cooking shows until the show was over. Then we rolled back to Rebecca's interview. She was incredibly buff. Her hair looked much cuter than it had during the makeover, but I thought that her decision to wear a miniskirt was a bad one. She had the legs for it, but trying to sit on stage in a chair in a miniskirt with cameras rolling? Something a little longer would have been just as cute and a lot more appropriate. We did find out that I was right in my guess about a Biggest Loser romance between Rebecca and Daniel.
My money is on her for the At-Home Champion, unless Allan gets eliminated before the finale.