Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Biggest Loser Week 12: Crash Dieting

This week on "The Biggest Loser," there was a whole new twist to the game. In the center of the gym was a pedestal with a huge red button on it. When pushed, it set off a campus-wide alarm that sounded like a storm siren. Daris said, "Back where I come from, if you hear a siren like that, you grab a mattress and head for the bathtub, because the tornado's coming." Each player was given a tag with a number that was equal to 2% of his or her weight. When a player felt ready to weigh in at or above that number, pushing the button would alert the whole campus to come watch. The first player to push the button and make the goal would win immunity for the whole next week. Each player would only be allowed to push the button once, and as soon as one person won immunity, no one else could try. There was no penalty for trying and failing except that players didn't get a second chance.

As soon as I thought, "That's a terrible idea, people will do bad things to lose fast," Dr. H. magically appeared to explain to the contestants that while he had proven that losing large amounts of fat is safe, losing weight quickly through dehydration or muscle loss was not. He wanted to make sure that no one would do anything drastic. Of course, Bob and Jillian were all for anything that would motivate players to work extra hard to get the weight off.

Most of the players seemed preoccupied with the button and the chance to win immunity. Melissa, especially, seemed to be completely focused on it, and walked around asking people, "Are you going to push the button? When are you going to push the button?"

The first player to try her luck was Victoria, the player from the Blue Team who got back on the show last week. She quietly snuck off to the gym and pushed the button on Day 2 (or maybe early on Day 3) and really surprised everyone. Victoria seems so innocent and not at all a game player. She didn't make her goal, but she shook everyone up. Melissa is even more obsessed with the game than ever, and even Bob warns her that gameplaying can backfire.

In the meantime, as we wait for everyone to push the button, there is a pool challenge that was one of the coolest things I've ever seen on TBL. 1000 weights, 100 each in colors that matched the shirts for each of the 10 contestants, were scattered across the bottom of an Olympic-sized pool. They looked like painted hockey pucks to me. Each player had to get his or her 100 weights, no more than two at a time, on a tray attached to a scale. When players finished, they could go help another player. The player in first place won a trip for two to The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge. The player who came in last would have a pound penalty in the next real weigh-in. Sunshine beat Sam because of her serious swimming abilities, and then rushed to help her dad. When Sam finished right after she did, O'Neal was in last place, then Michael, then Melissa. Sam asked Koli if he needed help, but Koli was doing fine and said, "Help Unc" (O'Neal). When each player finished, they went to help O'Neal and then Michael.

No one helped Melissa, and Melissa lost. Players used this challenge to let Melissa know exactly what they thought about her.

Koli and Sam decide that they are going to push the button on Day 4. Melissa has the same idea, but the cousins beat her to it. Sam works out hard in a heavy sweatshirt and a a hat, wrestler style. He only needed 6 pounds to win immunity, but he gets 10.

When the weigh-in rolls around, Koli, Daris, Drea, and Melissa all have terrible numbers. They seemed to have been the players most interested in the whole button things. They may have done something to sabotage their real weight loss, like Dr. H warned. Melissa and Drea end up below the yellow line. Melissa pulls her, "I'm not a threat," line, but no one buys it.

Melissa goes home. The final vote to keep Drea on campus came from Victoria, because Drea had voted to help her in the last episode. So, contrary to what Melissa thought, friendship does matter, even on TBL.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07